School expulsions on the rise

By Roddy AshworthMORE than 180 pupils – most of them boys – were expelled from Essex state schools in the last academic year, it has been revealed.The most common reason given reason for permanent exclusions in the county's schools during 2003/2004 was "persistent disruptive behaviour", followed by "physical assault against an adult".

By Roddy Ashworth

MORE than 180 pupils - most of them boys - were expelled from Essex state schools in the last academic year, it has been revealed.

The most common reason given reason for permanent exclusions in the county's schools during 2003/2004 was "persistent disruptive behaviour", followed by "physical assault against an adult".

But 20 expulsions were issued for drug and alcohol-related incidents and 20 for physical assault against other pupils.


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Of the 184 students permanently excluded across Essex, 38 were primary school pupils, 138 were secondary school pupils and eight were from special schools. A total of 161 of those students were boys - 87% of those expelled - with just 23 (13%) girls.

In the Colchester area, the Charles Lucas Arts College and Thomas Lord Audley School both permanently excluded five pupils.

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St Helena's School, Colchester, expelled five pupils while Clacton County High School and Colbayns High School, also in Clacton, expelled two students each.

In Chelmsford, St Peter's College permanently excluded seven pupils and Great Baddow High School permanently excluded three, while the Tabor High School in Braintree expelled five students.

The figure of 184 permanent exclusions - which equates to just under one pupil per 1,000 students - was up 11 on last year, but was 31 down from 2001/2002 and two down on 2000/2001.

A spokeswoman for Essex County Council said: "There does not appear to be any pattern to exclusions - the figures fluctuate year by year.

"This year has seen a marginal increase, but it's not something that would alert us to any particular problems."

She added children who were permanently excluded were referred to the county's integrated support services.

"That is there to meet the needs of each child and its aim is to successfully integrate the child back into mainstream education," said the spokeswoman.

Jerry Galzier, general secretary of the Essex branch of the teachers' union NUT - who also works within integrated support services - said the figures were not unusual.

"I think the local education authority has, in recent years, put quite a lot of money into ISS to provide clearly well defined provision for excluded pupils.

"There has also been quite a lot of co-operation with headteachers who see that after integration there can be success in placing pupils.

"Sometimes it can be difficult to get pupils from years eight, nine and 10 back into ordinary schools and they stay with integrated support services.

"In those cases the integrated support services seeks, as far as it is able, to emulate the national curriculum and help children who have embarked on exam courses to complete them, as far as is practically possible."

The figures will be considered by Essex County Council's children and family services and school's policy development group this week.

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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