Looked after children five times more likely to be excluded from Redbridge's schools
PUBLISHED: 17:37 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 18:08 16 April 2019
Children in care are five times more likely to be excluded from the borough’s schools, new figures reveal.
Department for Education figures show 9.3per cent of children in the care of Redbridge Council were excluded at least once in the 2016-17 academic year, the latest period with available data.
In comparison, the exclusion rate for the school population as a whole in Redbridge was just 1.8pc.
Across England, 11.8pc of children looked after by local authorities found themselves excluded at least once in the same school year compared to the rate for the general population in 2016-17 of 2.3pc.
The Department for Education said it is undertaking a review of exclusions, to better understand how schools are using them and why some pupils are excluded more than others.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds MP said: “We cannot ignore the stark reality of the poorer outcomes for children who face chaotic lives or have experienced trauma or adversity.
“Society shares responsibility for improving outcomes for vulnerable children.
“That is why we've provided practical advice to schools and social workers to adapt the way they support them, including having a consistent and trusted member of staff to talk to.”
The Children's Commissioner for England has warned too many vulnerable children are “falling through the gaps”, and could be open to criminal or sexual exploitation.
“Looked after children are some of the most vulnerable children, who should be getting the best education to give them the best chances in life,” said Anne Longfield.
“The fact that a growing number are being excluded is deeply worrying, not only because they will be missing out on receiving a good education, but also because they are more likely to be at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation.
“Talk to any child in prison, in trouble with the police, or caught up in gangs, and they will tell you that falling out of school was a trigger point.”
A Redbridge Council spokesman said the figures about children in care “do not tell the whole story”.
“The statistics released by the children's commissioner includes children in Redbridge looked-after by other councils and our own,” he said.
“Even taking this into account, the exclusion rate for the borough is below the London and national average and exclusions for children looked-after by our council fell between 2015/16 and 2016/17.
“We take this issue very seriously and will continue to work hard with head teachers to find alternatives to exclusion for our most vulnerable students.”