Ofsted concern over exclusion rates in North Lincolnshire

Joe Sellars
Joe Sellars

Startling Ofsted figures show that secondary school exclusion rates in North Lincolnshire are among the top 10 in the country.

In response to this Ofsted’s regional director for the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber, Cathy Kirby, is writing to secondary head teachers to raise her concerns about their rates of fixed-period exclusions.

Figures for fixed term exclusions in North Lincolnshire are 21.16 per cent.

Speaking about the figures The Axholme Academy principal Joe Sellars said: “I welcome the Ofsted focus on high exclusion rates. In my experience most schools, including my own, really do exclude as a last resort but there must be some that have really high levels. Hopefully this focus will encourage them to adopt strategies and an approach that will help them to bring rates down.”

A fixed-period exclusion means a pupil is barred from attending school for a set period of time, which can be anything from part of a school day up to a maximum of 45 days within a single academic year. This does not have to be continuous; pupils can be excluded for more than one fixed period.

To find out why exclusions in these eight areas are so high, Ms Kirby is calling on her inspectors to look very carefully at a school’s use of exclusion when making judgements about its leadership and management and pupils’ behaviour.

In her annual report, Her Majesty’s Chief inspector Amanda Spielman stated that she absolutely supports a school’s right to exclude pupils, but that it must only be used when necessary. For example when their behaviour is violent, threatening towards teachers or when it affects other pupils’ learning.

Cathy Kirby said: “I fully appreciate variations between individual secondary schools and recognise that there may be valid reasons for schools to exclude pupils. But it is difficult to understand why fixed-period exclusion should be so much more necessary in these eight local authorities compared with others.

“Schools should only ever use exclusions as a last resort. If not properly applied, being removed from school can disrupt a child’s education and affect their future life chances.”