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Claims of parents being “bamboozled” over the way children are being removed from Norfolk schools

Mike Sands, Labour candidate for Bowthorpe. Pic: Labour Party.

Mike Sands, Labour candidate for Bowthorpe. Pic: Labour Party.

Labour Party

Education bosses have said they are looking into “inappropriate practices” at some Norfolk schools - as a councillor claimed some parents have been “bamboozled” into withdrawing pupils, rather than schools having to exclude them.

Provisional figures show that 266 pupils were excluded in Norfolk in 2016/17, up on 243 the previous year.

Officers at Norfolk County Council said, at a meeting of the children’s services committee today, that 76pc of schools did not exclude any pupils , so the 24pc which did, did so in “some numbers”.

Chris Snudden, assistant director for education in County Hall’s children’s services department, said: “We are working very closely with those schools and in September we have seen a drop of almost a half in the number of exclusions compared to September last year.”

But Mike Sands, Labour councillor for Bowthorpe, said he had concerns schools were avoiding exclusions appearing in their performance statistics by encouraging parents to take out their children.

He said: “There are some schools which, for want of a better word, bamboozle parents to withdraw children before they are excluded.

“I am concerned about the number involved who are being home schooled, possibly as a result of non-exclusion, and how this is monitored.”

Ms Snudden said: “We have concerns too. We don’t think it’s alarming, but we know there are these practices and we are heavily focused on that.

“We have a team which looks at children missing from education if they suddenly drop off a school roll.

“We have very much got our eyes on it and are aware it happens in certain places.

“We are engaging with those schools to understand where a child drops off a register, because that is not legal.

“The team has moved into a much tighter service around quality assurance and intervention, so they will have a sharp focus on knowing where these children are and targeting schools where we know there is this sort of inappropriate practice.”

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