Assaults on adults major cause of school exclusions

Education bosses Sandwell have warned one of the main causes for pupils being taken out of schools are physical assaults on adults.

Sandwell Council
Sandwell Council

Children lost nearly 3,000 days of education during 2019 due to disruptive behaviour despite the number of exclusions and expulsions falling for the third year running.

A report to the borough’s children’s services and education scrutiny board shows more than 700 youngsters were kept out of mainstream schooling last year while 46 were expelled.

It states: “As with secondary schools, persistent disruptive behaviour is the main reason for exclusion in primary schools, followed by physical assault on an adult.”

But the figures are a massive improvement on 2016 when children lost 6,442 learning days while secondary schools have seen numbers halved in the last 12 months alone.

In their report to councillors, education bosses say the biggest reduction has come in pupils aged between 11 and 16 years-old: “Data shows the number of fixed term exclusions in secondary schools has halved since 2017 / 2018. This has resulted in a reduction of over 1,000 days lost learning days compared to last year.

“Permanent exclusions also significantly reduced (by 31) in 2018/2019.”

Primary school pupils lost 645 learning days during 2019 while only 10 children were expelled.

In secondary schools, 15 years-olds are the most disruptive while data showed children aged ten are most likely to be removed from junior classrooms.

Sandwell Council says the fall in exclusions has come through joint work with schools, police and education officers.

A spokesman added: “The council is delighted that we have put in place successful systems to work with schools to more than halve the secondary exclusions.

“Our aim in Sandwell is to reduce the pupil exclusions to an absolute minimum. The reduction in lost learning days is a result of a number of different initiatives and support that has been instigated through the combined approach and the impact it has had on pupils and their families.

“Exclusions from primary schools continues to remain low and it is good to note the reduction in all types of exclusions recently.

“We strongly challenge schools to find other ways to support children to stay in education to reduce the number of exclusions. We operate a specialist panel to support moves of pupils to other suitable educational provision where necessary.

“We also provide additional advice and support to schools to help them keep young people on roll. There is a strong focus on preventable work within Sandwell schools using whole school approaches as well as targeted support.

“All schools have been offered free support to develop ways of supporting pupil’s mental health and well-being which impacts on behaviour.”

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