New figures show 25 pupils in Redbridge excluded for racist abuse

There was a slight decrease in pupils being excluded for racist abuse in Redbridge last year. Pictur

There was a slight decrease in pupils being excluded for racist abuse in Redbridge last year. Picture: PA/David Jones - Credit: PA

Schools in Redbridge excluded pupils for racist bullying on fewer occasions last year, new figures reveal.

But with racism-related exclusions at a record high across England, anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate said schools are clamping down on abuse.

Department for Education data shows Redbridge’s schools excluded students 25 times for racist abuse in 2018-19.

That was down from 27 in the previous academic year.

All were fixed-term exclusions, also known as suspensions, where a pupil is temporarily removed. The figures include abuse by children at state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in the area.

The picture in Redbridge differed from that across the rest of England, where pupils were excluded for racist bullying on 4,900 occasions last year – the highest since records began in 2006-07, and up from 4,300 in 2017-18.

Owen Jones, head of education at Hope Not Hate, said the number of additional racist abuse exclusions last year was “worrying”.

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However, he added: “From what we have seen, there is a much better concerted effort to clamp down and take it more seriously.

“The process of exclusion is fraught for everyone involved, but the tolerance for that behaviour is reducing.

“Students of colour are having more confidence to speak up. It’s not just about the ‘n’ word, it’s about comments made throughout the day which make students feel unwelcome.”

Overall, Redbridge schools excluded pupils 2,086 times in 2018-19 – equivalent to 40 exclusions every week.

This was an increase of 38pc on the previous year, when they handed out 1,507 exclusions.

Cllr Elaine Norman, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We’re immensely proud of our diversity in Redbridge and take a very dim view of racism or discrimination of any kind.

“We’re pleased that our schools are taking the necessary action against those who commit racist bullying, and that the number of exclusions have reduced from the previous year.

“However, we won’t be satisfied until any kind of racist behavior has been completely stamped out. There is no place for it whatsoever in Redbridge or anywhere else for that matter.”