Secondary school expulsions increase

A UNION has expressed its disappointment following a large increase in the number of children being expelled from secondary schools in Suffolk.Figures released by the Government show that for the 2007/8 school year, there were 80 permanent exclusions from secondary schools.

Anthony Bond

A UNION has expressed its disappointment following a large increase in the number of children being expelled from secondary schools in Suffolk.

Figures released by the Government show that for the 2007/8 school year, there were 80 permanent exclusions from secondary schools. This is a 36% rise on the previous year's figure of 59.

There was also a slight increase at primary schools with permanent exclusions up from 6 in 2006/7 to 10 the following year.


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Despite the increase in pupils being expelled, there has been a large decrease in the number of pupils being suspended.

In primary schools, the number of fixed-period exclusions dropped from 501 in 2006/7 to 430 in 2007/8. While in secondary schools, there was a large decrease from 5,604 to 4,670.

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In Essex, the number of suspensions in secondary schools dropped from 11,709 in 2006/7 to 9,500 the following year. Exclusions from secondary schools also dropped from 206 to 160.

Graham White, divisional secretary of the National Union of Teachers in Suffolk, said he was “disappointed” that there had been an increase in pupils being expelled.

“I am always unhappy about any exclusions, however, I accept that for the safety of pupils and staff permanent exclusions are sometimes necessary. It could be the case that schools have got to the point where they have no option but to permanently exclude.”

Commenting on the decrease in suspensions, Mr White said: “I am very pleased that this is happening but on the other hand I think it is also to do with the fact that Suffolk County Council is putting an awful lot of pressure on heads and governing bodies not to exclude and keep pupils in school.”

Nationally, figures showed that physical assaults against classmates and teachers accounted for four in 10 suspensions in primary schools and a fifth of suspensions in secondary schools.

Overall the number of times primary school pupils were suspended in 2007/8 fell by 5.3% this year to 43,290. Figures showed that all state schools were forced to expel or “permanently exclude” pupils 8,130 times last year, a drop of 6.4%.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for children schools and young people's services, said: “The county council works hard with schools to identify alternative methods to manage young people with additional needs. As a result, in the 2007/08 academic year we saw a significantly reduced number of fixed term exclusions. The level of permanent exclusions remains below the average for the region.”

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