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Number of children excluded at Redbridge schools has more than doubled, figures show

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 October 2017

A generic stock photo shows children at work in a classroom. Picture: PA

A generic stock photo shows children at work in a classroom. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Twice as many children were permanently excluded from Redbridge schools in the last full academic year, than in each of the two years prior.

Nationally Department for Education figures show 40 per cent more children were expelled between 2015 and 2016 than the previous three years, which experts are warning “could be the tip of the iceberg”.

In Redbridge 37 pupils were permanently excluded from secondary schools during that period, compared with 16 between 2013 and 2014 and 15 in the academic year prior.

The borough’s was the sixth highest figure in London.

The children were expelled for reasons including assaulting other pupils, threatening behaviour to members of staff and drugs and alcohol related issues.

A study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says the national figures mask the true scale of exclusions, as pupils are forced out of school with informal methods not captured in the data.

The IPPR reports a rise in the number of students being educated in the alternative provision sector, which caters for excluded pupils.

In Barkingside, Redbridge Tuition Service works with children who are temporarily or permanently excluded from school.

Part of the New Rush Hall Group, in Starch House Lane, the service provides the borough’s pupil referral unit.

Its website states: “The PRU provides education for pupils who have been permanently excluded, those who are at risk of exclusion, school refusers and non-attenders.”

Kash Malik, Redbridge’s NUT representative, said it was down to Conservative and Labour governments’ policy to focus on results.

“When you judge schools by league tables, these exclusion statistics may be an unintended consequences. I know it’s not why I got into teaching.”

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting commented: “Teaching bodies have pointed out that this could be in part driven by school cuts to pastoral and mental health care which would help support students.

“The IPPR released research earlier this year which showed that half of students expelled from school had mental health problems, which makes the decreasing amount of support available a serious problem.

“Expulsions have a detrimental impact on a child’s life chances and should always be the very last resort in dealing with behaviour.”

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