Yorkshire has highest national rate of exclusions in secondary schools, says Ofsted report

Call for exclusions in schools across Yorkshire and the Humber to be used as a "last resort," after the latest Ofsted report reveals a "concerning," number of secondary school pupils are being removed from the classroom, warns Northern education chief.

By Ruth Dacey
Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 9:54 am

The latest Ofsted report found the number of schools in Yorkshire and the Humber rated as “good” or “outstanding,” stands at 82 per cent - four per cent below the national average.

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Read more: Special report - Widening education gap across Yorkshire

It also revealed Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest number of fixed period exclusions for 2018/19, (where a student is temporarily removed from school), in state funded secondary schools with 56,400, while recording 329,559 pupils in total on secondary school roll, across 325 schools.

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The latest Ofstead report revealed Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest number of fixed period exclusions for 2018/19, (where a student is temporarily removed from school), in state funded secondary schools with 56,400,.

The region had an exclusion rate of 17.1 per cent - equivalent to around 17 pupils with one or more fixed period exclusions per 100 pupils - more than six per cent above the national average of 10.7.

North West followed with 48,710, exclusions, while recording 430,026 students on the school roll, and the South East third with 45,370 with a total of 523,262 pupils on the roll.

Emma Ing, Ofsted’s Director for Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East, said the reported figures were a “concern.”

She told The Yorkshire Post: “Now I can understand it is tempting to say - this child is behaving really badly and the school’s wouldn’t do it lightly but the difficulty is when a child is excluded - they are not getting the education that is their right and any disadvantage gap that is already there is only getting worse because they are not learning and not making progress in their learning.

Emma Ing, Ofsted’s Director for Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East, said: "While I know that schools don’t make this decision lightly, any form of exclusions should be used as a last resort, and when all options have been considered."

“They are missing out on chunks of the curriculum which makes it much harder to come back to school and then to add to that while they are not in school they are at risk because they are out there on the streets, or roaming about on the internet doing goodness knows what - so schools are a safe place for children.”

Across the region Doncaster recorded the highest rates of fixed period exclusions for 2018/19 with 8,152, while 17,600 pupils were recorded on the secondary school roll.

It recorded an exclusion rate of 46.3 per cent per pupil, equivalent to around 46 pupils with one or more fixed period exclusions per 100 pupils - more than 35 per cent above the national average.

The Doncaster Opportunity Area, alongside Doncaster Council were contacted by The Yorkshire Post for comment.

Barnsley followed with 4,406 exclusions, after a school roll totaling 12,216 for secondary - and saw around 36 pupils with one or more fixed period exclusions per 100 pupils.

Coun Margaret Bruff, cabinet spokesperson for children’s services, from Barnsley Council, said: "Barnsley secondary schools have made significant improvements in recent years in outcomes for pupils at key stage 4 which are now above national averages and compare favourably with other, similar authorities.

"Behaviour management within schools is robust across the borough which unfortunately can result in higher rates of exclusions in some settings. However, all schools have been working together through the Barnsley Schools Alliance to improve inclusion in the borough and we’re pleased to note that we continue to see year-on-year reduction in these rates of fixed term exclusions.

"All school leaders recognise that there is still more to do to further improve inclusion practice, but real-time data confirms that we remain on course to see rates of exclusions continuing to fall in Barnsley."

While Wakefield had the third highest with 6,892, with 19,875 pupils recorded on the school roll, while recording roughly 34 students per 100 pupils.

Andy Lancashire, Wakefield Council’s Service Director for Education and Inclusion, said: "It is vitally important to us that all children receive the education that they deserve.

"We understand that for some, mainstream school can be challenging due to difficulties in learning or their personal situation. But whatever the reason, we strive to work with schools to promote inclusion rather than exclusion.

"We are working closely with our partners and local schools to tackle this issue and in September we jointly launched a new approach to support inclusion. This is already helping to reduce permanent and fixed term exclusions in the district."

Ms Ing who has been in post since August 2019 added: "And while I know that schools don’t make this decision lightly, any form of exclusions should be used as a last resort, and when all options have been considered."

Out of the Government’s 12 created Opportunity Areas - a policy announced in 2016, by former Education Secretary Justine Greening, to support social mobility in some of the most disadvantaged areas across England, it includes Doncaster, alongside Bradford and the North Yorkshire Coast in Yorkshire.

One of the priorities highlighted for the Doncaster Opportunity Area was tackling the high exclusion rates in schools.

The Department for Education confirmed it is investing £90m over four years in the 12 Opportunity Areas, including Doncaster, to help improve outcomes for children and young people.

It added Doncaster’s secondary schools have signed an inclusion charter to encourage schools to come together to agree systems and processes across the borough and to review and improve inclusive practice.

The Doncaster Opportunity Area has also funded secondary schools to trial initiatives to support pupils at risk of exclusion, and has funded a programme to support students’ transition from primary to secondary schools and a programme aimed at improving parental engagement with schools.

A Department for Education spokeswoman, added: "Being excluded from school should not mean exclusion from a good quality education.

"We expect teachers to address underlying causes of disruptive behaviour to avoid exclusions where possible, but we will always back them to exclude when it’s required as part of creating calm and disciplined classrooms that bring out the best in every pupil.

"We are taking forward ambitious plans to improve behaviour and the availability of good Alternative Provision, including by investing £10m in our behaviour hubs programme.

"Our Opportunity Area in Doncaster is also funding initiatives to help schools tackle the issues that can lead to students becoming disengaged from education."

Permanent exclusion rates for secondary schools in Yorkshire and the Humber by local authority, 2018/19

- Across England there were a total of 6,753 permanent exclusions for state funded secondary schools - with a national rate of 0.20 per cent.

- In Yorkshire and the Humber there were 681 permanent exclusions across 325 schools, with an exclusion rate of 0.21 per cent.

The highest exclusion rate was recorded in Barnsley at 0.55 per cent - with 67 students permanently excluded out of a total of 12, 216 pupils across 10 schools.

Doncaster followed with 0.49 per cent - after 87 students were permanently excluded from a total of 17,000 pupils across 19 schools.

Wakefield had the third highest permanent exclusions with 0.42 per cent, with 84 students, out of a total of 19,875 pupils across 19 schools.

The lowest rates were recorded in Leeds, with just 0.02 per cent after 11 permanent exclusions out of 48,180 students in total across 44 schools.

This was followed by Bradford with 0.10 per cent with 41 recorded, from a demographic of 39, 129 across 34 schools. While both Calderdale and North Lincolnshire had a rate of 0.13 per cent for permanent exclusions.

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