‘A worrying trend’: Newham schools top exclusions count of inner London boroughs, latest figures show
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Schools in Newham issued more exclusions last year than in any other inner London borough, figures have revealed.
State-funded primaries, secondaries and special schools in Newham issued 2,186 fixed period exclusions punishing 1,115 youngsters out of 62,135 by telling them to stay away from school for a set length of time.
Of the total, 471 exclusions were issued for attacks on pupils and 193 for assaulting adults. There were 311 for verbally abusing adults.
Newham schools were followed by Hackney’s with 1,924 fixed period exclusions. Of all London boroughs Enfield school’s issued most at 2,951. City of London’s issued least – three.
Iain Hale, assistant secretary of the Newham branch of teachers’ trade union the National Education Union, said exclusions were always disappointing.
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“But lots of students who end up excluded have additional needs,” he said before blaming central government funding cuts.
Schools haven’t got the money to keep support staff who would have helped students with behaviour and special educational needs, Mr Hale said.
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Without help those students struggled to succeed.
“No school takes [exclusions] lightly. It’s a last resort,” he added before warning African, African-Caribbean and white working class children were likely excluded most.
In Newham there were 45 permanent exclusions last year – where children were kicked out of a school – the third highest of the inner London boroughs behind Lewisham (64) and Hackney (43). Ealing permanently excluded the most at 78.
Nationally, fixed term and permanent exclusions have risen over the last five years from 7,616,870 in 2012-13 to 8,025,075 last year.
London regional secretary for the National Union of Teachers Martin Powell-Davies said: “Unfortunately, these are not figures that come as a surprise. It’s a worrying trend.
“We have got more alienated pupils not enjoying school because teachers are driven to teach to the test. That provides an environment which is harder for students who are struggling in other ways. They can feel demoralised. That creates behavioural issues.”
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “We want every child to benefit from a world class education, with the right support in place, so they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
“Schools should only use permanent exclusions as a last resort but we do support teachers in taking proportionate steps.
“Whilst we know there has been an increase in exclusions there are still fewer than the peak 10 years ago. We recognise some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded than others which is why we launched a review to look at the reasons why.”