‘It’s a worrying trend’: Redbridge schools issue 1,500 exclusions, government figures reveal
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Schools in the borough issued just over 1,500 exclusions last year, government figures reveal.
State-funded primaries, secondaries and special schools in Redbridge issued 1,577 fixed period exclusions punishing a thousand youngsters out of 60,051 by telling them to stay away from school for a set length of time.
Of the total 355 were issued for attacks on fellow pupils with 100 for attacks on and 197 for threatening adults.
Of the outer London boroughs Enfield schools issued the most (2,951) but City of London’s issued the least – three.
Nationally, fixed term and permanent exclusions have risen over the last five years from 7,616,870 in 2012-13 to 8,025,075 last year.
London regional secretary for the National Union of Teachers Martin Powell-Davies said: “Unfortunately, these are not figures that come as a surprise. It’s a worrying trend.
“Schools are under enormous pressure. They are being told that if they fail to reach externally imposed targets for exam results at primary or secondary school they risk being deemed failing schools.
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“Yet at the same time the government is cutting back on support services.”
As a result, Mr Powell-Davies said, students with behavioural, mental health or special educational needs failed to get the support they required.
“For some schools the only way they can cope is to exclude rather than give the support they would like to,” he added.
And he predicted exclusions could increase if the funding pressures on school worsen.
He said: “We have got more alienated pupils not enjoying school because teachers are driven to teach to the test. That provides an environment which is harder for students who are struggling. They can feel demoralised. That creates behavioural issues.”
There were 40 permanent exclusions last year – where children were kicked out of a school – the eighth highest of the 19 inner London boroughs. Across London, Ealing permanently excluded the most at 78.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “We want every child to benefit from a world class education, with the right support in place, so they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
“Schools should only use permanent exclusions as a last resort but we do support teachers in taking proportionate steps to ensure good behaviour.
“Whilst we know there has been an increase in exclusions there are still fewer than the peak 10 years ago. We recognise some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded than others which is why we launched a review to look at why certain groups are disproportionately affected.”