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Fall in pupil exclusions

PUBLISHED: 13:21 31 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 03 July 2010

THE number of children being excluded from Norfolk schools fell last year, according to a new report.

Figures for 2007-08 show that just over three per cent of the county's school population were given a fixed-term exclusion - a fall of nearly five per cent against the previous year.

THE number of children being excluded from Norfolk schools fell last year, according to a new report.

Figures for 2007-08 show that just over three per cent of the county's school population were given a fixed-term exclusion - a fall of nearly five per cent against the previous year.

Fixed-term exclusions were handed out to 550 pupils in primary schools, 3,150 in secondary schools and 80 pupils in special schools.

The number of pupils permanently excluded from Norfolk schools also fell. In 2007/08 10 pupils were permanently excluded in primary schools, 60 in secondary schools and 10 in special schools in the county. The figures are a drop from 2006-07 when the number of permanent exclusions was 110.

The improvement was last night hailed by Norfolk County Council education chiefs.

Shelagh Hutson, the council's Cabinet member for Children's Services, said: “To see both a reduction in the number of permanent and fixed term exclusions between 06/07 and 07/08 is really encouraging.

“It is vital our children and young people spend as much time in school as possible if they are to achieve their full potential throughout their lives.

“The county council works very hard with schools, teachers, and parents, to tackle children's behavioural problems at an early stage.

“Many schools have specific units where they tackle these issues by isolating the child and supporting them on a more one to one basis, away from their usual classes, with some children at higher risk of exclusion also supported in our pupil referral units.

“When permanent exclusion is the only option left for a child though, we have an effective managed move system, supporting those who are excluded back into school, in an attempt to avoid it happening again.

“Ultimately we have to strike the balance of trying to alter a child's ongoing behavioural problems, yet not letting the education of those around the child be affected detrimentally.

“Permanent exclusion is of course the last course of action for all of our schools - who are attempting to give a child every possible opportunity to change for the better.”

In Suffolk permanent exclusions were given to 90 pupils in 2007-08 and fixed term exclusions to 5,170 pupils.

In Cambridgeshire 10 pupils received permanent exclusions, although figures for special and secondary schools were not available, and 3,070 pupils with fixed term exclusions.

Nationally, the number of exclusions from England's schools also went down last year.

There were 8,130 permanent exclusions from primary, secondary and special schools in 2007-08, 6.4pc less than the year before.

Children's Minister Dawn Primarolo, said programmes such as Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (Seal), which ensures that young people understand the consequences of their actions and are taught how to respond to situations responsibly, had had a positive impact on discipline.

She said: “We can always do more and that is why we have strengthened home-school agreements to make sure the worst behaved children have clear expectations of behaviour and schools can force parents to take action if they do not live up to these expectations.”

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