Council outlines ‘sharp rise’ in permanent exclusions within Doncaster schools

Doncaster has experienced a ‘sharp rise’ in the number of children being permanently excluded from schools, council bosses have said.

Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 11:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 11:37 am
Doncaster has one of the highest school exclusion rates in the country

The local authority, which presented a three-year plan to tackle the problem in April, also revealed there is a growing demand for alternative provision places - where children continue being educated, but away from the mainstream school environment. 

In a report seen by councillors, schools need to be ‘supported and challenged’ to make ‘effective plans’ to meet the needs of their students. 

Latest Government data published in July last year showed 50 children were excluded from Doncaster schools on every school day during the 2016/2017 academic year.

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Schools in Doncaster handed out at least 9,707 exclusions, according to data from the Department for Education.

This was the equivalent of 20 exclusions for every 100 pupils, the highest rate in the country.

A council-led behaviour review found that despite there being plenty of alternative provision places, there was ‘insufficient provision locally’ to meet the needs of young people with acute social, emotional, mental health needs or Autism.

The review added that these factors have led to ‘poor attendance and educational outcomes’ for many of these children.

Council bosses said they have robust plans in place to support intervention and make sure each child has sufficient provision to meet their needs. 

The issue is to be discussed at a meeting on Tuesday, March 5. 

Martyn Owen, head of service for education inclusion, said: “In addition to absence and exclusions, it is also known that young people that are accessing alternative provision due to their behaviour do not fare well academically and struggle to progress later on in life.

“Due to their limited engagement in learning and the environments they grow up in, they are at a higher risk of engaging in risk taking behaviours/anti-social/criminal activity and potentially could suffer with low self-esteem/resilience/mental health.

“The development of a continuum of provision that accurately matches curriculum to individual need will allow a significant number of our most vulnerable young people to lead happier and more successful adult lives, thereby reducing the social costs.

“The majority of tasks outlined in the initial plan have already been undertaken, with a significant amount of work having gone into developing a joint partnership approach to reducing exclusions with our schools in order to ensure that future plans are co-produced and that schools play a greater strategic role in designing the future landscape.”