Revealed: The reasons why children have been excluded from Norfolk’s schools
Concern over the rates of children being permanently excluded from Norfolk’s schools has prompted a summit between council bosses and head teachers to be organised.
The number of children permanently excluded from the county’s primary and secondary schools has fallen over the past three years.
But, with the number of secondary schools excluding pupils has gone up, the rate of exclusions is well above the national average.
While decisions to exclude children are made by heads, Norfolk County Council has to arrange education for those who permanently excluded.
The main reason for exclusions is persistent disruptive behaviour, followed by physical assault against a pupil and physical assault against adults.
And, at a meeting of the council’s children’s services committee on Tuesday, councillors heard from officers who said they need to challenge schools more about use of exclusions.
The committee heard how secondary schools permanently excluded 205 pupils in 2017/18, compared to 188 in 2015/16 and 193 in 2016/17.
But, whereas just 44 secondary schools permanently excluded pupils in 2015/16, there were 51 schools where at least one pupil was kicked out for good. The exclusion rate per 100 pupils has increased.
Exclusion rates fell in Norwich, Breckland and Broadland, but went up in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk last year.
Permanent exclusions from primary schools fell from 83 (63 schools) in 2015/16 to 71 (53 schools) in 2016/17 to 62 (47 schools) in 2017/18.
Colleen Walker, Labour councillor for Magdalen ward in Great Yarmouth, said: “The primary exclusions are still unacceptable. I know they are down, but given these are permanent exclusions that is very. very worrying.”
Council officers said a lot of work had been done with schools to reduce exclusion rates, which had yielded good results, particularly in Norwich.
The council did not reveal the schools which had excluded the most pupils, but Emma Corlett, Labour councillor for Town Close, said: “There’s an elephant in the room and when will we start naming and shaming?”
Officers said they would hold a summit with headteachers to discuss the issue.
Chris Snudden, assistant director of children’s services, said: “We are working with headteachers to give them the kind of support they need.”