Almost 30 children excluded from Northamptonshire schools every day, report shows

The conference is being held at Northampton's International Academy next Thursday (March 28). (File picture)
The conference is being held at Northampton's International Academy next Thursday (March 28). (File picture)

An academy chain will hold an event later this month to launch an initiative seeking to reduce the number of school exclusions in Northamptonshire.

The rate of permanent exclusions has been increasing in Northamptonshire, rising from 95 in 2015/16 to 150 in 2017/18. Latest figures show fixed-term exclusions have also increased from 4,651 in 2015/16 to 5,525 in 2016/17.

This equates to 29 children being temporarily excluded every school day in Northamptonshire.

Northampton, however, has the lowest secondary exclusion rate in the county with 0.16 per cent of senior school pupils permanently excluded.

A free East Midlands Academy Trust conference, backed by Ofsted, is set to be open to all schools in the county next week and will look at a new approach to keeping pupils at risk of exclusion in mainstream education.

East Midlands Academy Trust chief executive Joshua Coleman said: “School exclusions are a crucial issue for everyone in education at the moment and are a key feature in the new inspection framework from Ofsted, which is particularly cracking down on off-rolling, a process where pupils are informally taken off a school’s roll without a formal exclusion."

The initiative is a collaboration between a small number of Northampton schools working together to find the most appropriate setting for students, thereby avoiding the need for a formal exclusion. If successful, it is hoped that the initiative could be rolled out countywide.

Alan Hackett, the national executive member for the NASUWT Teacher's Union in Northamptonshire said: "Schools need to reverse the trend for increasing class sizes, removal of valuable SEND experts and teaching assistants from the classroom and offer a broad and balanced curriculum that will motivate and inspire children.

"Behaviour management needs to be embedded into every aspect of school life and the responsibility for it owned by everyone from the head teacher to the pupils and their parents. Children should choose to learn and learn to accept the consequences of poor behaviour.

"It is also well understood that many pupils are lost or off-roll when Ofsted is due.

"29 exclusions is 29 life chances restricted. Greater investment in keeping children engaged with education for as long as possible must be the priority for any political party's manifesto."

Neighbouring local authorities including Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire will also share their own learning about reducing school exclusions, and the Fischer Family Trust will give a presentation on pupils who leave the school roll.

Mr Coleman added: “As an academy trust, we want to help to shape the way we support pupils at risk of exclusion by working with neighbouring schools to find the best place for them and thereby keeping them in mainstream education.

“We’ll be launching the initiative at the conference, which we hope will improve the current system of managing excluded pupils and give students across the county the very best chance to succeed in education in the best setting for them.”

The event will take place on Thursday, March 28 at Northampton International Academy.

Schools can book their free place here.