Shock figures show one fifth of Doncaster children miss nearly four weeks of school

Nearly one fifth of Doncaster pupils were absent from school for more than four weeks, shock new figures show.

Monday, 1st July 2019, 2:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 9:53 am
Nearly one fifth of Doncaster secondary pupils missed more than four weeks of school

Councillors heard that ‘challenges remain’ in borough secondary schools with stats showing 18.8 per cent of young people missed more than 19 days of the academic year. The national average stands at 13.6 per cent.

Previous reports show Doncaster has one of the highest rates of fixed-term exclusions in the country.

Latest Government data published in July 2017 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.

An investigation last year found Outwood Academy in Adwick issued 2,175 fixed-term exclusion to 303 pupils during 2016-2017.

Ash Hill Academy and Don Valley Academy also made the top 20 for fixed-term exclusions in the same year.

Riana Nelson who heads up education within Doncaster Council, said measures were in place to tackle pupils being absent from school.

She added the council were supporting schools with a high level of absent pupils through and added that interventions were having a positive effect on bringing the level down.

Schools are said to be working together better with the council in order to improve attendances across the board.

“This is part of a bigger, wider issue of inclusion and we are very active in promoting that,” Ms Nelson said.

“Around two and a half years ago, we presented our behaviour transformation programme to Cabinet where we would tackle all levels of inclusion including persistent absenteeism, fixed term exclusions and permanent ones.

“You can appreciate it is a really complex area of work and we are very much reliant on a system-wide response in our school sector.

“We are also seeing a slow down in fixed-term exclusions and I’m pleased to say all our schools has signed up to our inclusion charter."