News outlets have been reporting about the rise in suspensions and exclusions seen across the country following the Department of Education’s latest update on statistics. The numbers reveal that pupil suspensions and exclusions are at the highest they have been for fifteen years.
Bath and North East Somerset schools are following this national trend, numbers show that suspensions in primary school children is at the highest for ten years, with disruptive behaviour cited as the main reason. Physical assault has also been listed as a reason for suspension and expulsion, the rate of which has reached record levels. There were 59 instances of primary school pupils suspended for attacking an adult at their school over the last year. Which is the highest number in a decade. There were 1,249 fixed-term exclusions of secondary school pupils in B&NES, six per cent more than the year before and nearly twice as many as five years previously (2012/13).
The rate of suspensions is equivalent to one for every 10 pupils.
Four primary pupils and 21 secondary pupils were expelled last year in B&NES, at a rate of three expulsions for every 10,000 primary pupils and 16 per 10,000 secondary pupils.
One school in London has been found to be illegally forcing out pupils that were unlikely to achieve high grades. Campaigners said the Department for Education was complicit in the policy, saying they did not take punitive steps against the school’s head, who introduced the practice of expelling pupils to guarantee high results. The policy was reversed in September and the head resigned. The Department of Education has since contacted schools to say such expulsions were illegal.
Teaching bodies have expressed concerns about the rise in suspensions and exclusions and have said they believe the rates are increasing due to inadequate funding and cuts to local children’s services. Funding has also been cut for pupils with identified Special Educational Needs and disabilities.
Across the UK, the number is continuing to rise, state primary schools had 1,255 expulsions in the 16/17 academic year. 302,890 pupils were suspended from secondary schools in the same year.