Northamptonshire schools expel fewer children

Cllr Catherine Boardman
Cllr Catherine Boardman
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Figures released earlier this week have revealed how many pupils are being expelled from schools in Northamptonshire.

During 2011-12, the most recent years for which data is available, 11 primary school pupils were permanently excluded, or 0.02 per cent of the school population, with a further 210 being given one or more fixed period exclusion.

This compares with 10 permanent exclusions in 2010-11 and 249 pupils being given one or more fixed period exclusions.

The number of secondary school pupils being permanently excluded from school in 2011-12 was 66, a huge drop from the 110 excluded the previous year and only 0.14 per cent of the school population.

A further 1,871 secondary school pupils were given one or more fixed period exclusion. This compares with 2,318 secondary school pupils being given one or more fixed period exclusion in 2010-11.

Fixed period exclusions are issued for a variety of reasons including assault against a pupil or adult, verbal abuse, racist abuse and bullying.

Instances of bullying leading to a fixed period exclusion more than halved from 95 to 46.

Cllr Catherine Boardman, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for children and education, said: “That these figures are a step in the right direction shows the value of the work that goes on in the county in improving children’s life chances.

“Exclusion should only be used as a last resort and we are determined to continue working with schools to bring the number down.

“A decision to exclude a pupil, whether permanent or fixed term, is taken by a headteacher who will have weighed up the specific circumstances carefully.

“Our role is to support and advise schools as they deal with behaviour that causes concern within school.”

Northamptonshire’s figures buck the national trend which has seen a small rise in exclusions.

“A total of 690 primary school pupils were excluded in 2011-12, a rise of 20 and 4,390 secondary school pupils, 80 more than the previous year.

“The school population is 8.2 million so the proportion of pupils being expelled remains tiny.

In September 2012, the Government strengthened headteachers’ powers over exclusions by replacing the independent appeal panel with a review panel.

The independent appeal panel could overturn a headteacher’s decision to exclude a pupil, while the new panel can only make a recommendation that the pupil is taken back.