Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
Home schooling way forward to avoid bullying says tutoring firm
A TUTORING firm has urged parents worried about bullying to consider home-schooling their child after the number of pupil exclusions for bullying doubled in Halton.
Oxford Home Schooling placed Halton at ninth place in its league table of bullying hotspots following a 100% increase in the number of pupils being temporarily excluded in 2019-2020 compared to the year before.
The borough was among 10 areas across the country where the rate had doubled.
Barking and Dagenham took the top spot with a 200% rise equivalent to a tripling of the rate.
The data was compiled from Department for Education (DfE) statistics published on July 29.
DfE figures also showed two permanent exclusions in Halton for physical assault, one for verbal assault, two for drugs or alcohol.
There were 74 suspensions for physical assault, 40 for verbal assault, eight for racist abuse, five for sexual assault, nine over drugs or alcohol, 13 for damage, two relating to theft, 287 for persistent disruption and 35 other.
Regionally and nationally, the picture was much rosier, with the North West experiencing a 33% decrease while across England the average number of bullying exclusions dropped by 31%.
Greg Smith, Oxford Home Schooling’s head of operations, said: “These new exclusion figures cover the whole of the 2019-20 school year, but with the final term being conducted during lockdown, it’s interesting to see how the data compares to previous totals.
“In many ways, the measures introduced during the pandemic, like reduced class sizes and increased supervision, have helped address the country’s bullying problem, so it will be interesting to see if schools try to adopt some of these permanently, even though restrictions are easing.
“Anecdotally, nearly half of the parents who enrol their children with Oxford Home Schooling list bullying amongst their reasons for doing so. If your child is being bullied at school, then home education is a viable solution.”