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Only one other place in England expels more children with special needs than Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:24 25 February 2016

Terry Haydn

Terry Haydn

New figures show the number of students with special educational needs in Norfolk being permanently expelled from school was the second highest in England.

The figures

According to statistics published by the Department for Education Norfolk 0.53pc of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) statements, a document detailing a child’s learning difficulties and necessary help, were expelled from school during the 2013 to 2014 academic year.

This means roughly 21 pupils out of the 3,980 enrolled with SEN statements in Norfolk were permanently excluded.

In Cambridgeshire none of the pupils with SEN statements were expelled in the same academic year and in Suffolk the number was statistically so small it was not relevant.

Wokingham, in Berkshire, rated the highest for expulsions, with 0.62pc of 811 children with statements being permanently excluded.

The third highest was Lincolnshire which recorded 0.52pc of 3,101 children enrolled with statements.

The news comes as the county council announces it is developing a strategy to help tackle the problem, which it hopes to be in full force by the new academic year.

Meanwhile a union chief has claimed the pressure to increase standards has meant an increase in expulsions.

According to statistics published by the Department for Education Norfolk 0.53pc of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) statements were expelled from school during the 2013 to 2014 academic year.

This means roughly 21 pupils out of the 3,980 enrolled with SEN statements, a document detailing a child’s learning difficulties and necessary help, in Norfolk were permanently excluded.

Colin Collis; Photo: Bill SmithColin Collis; Photo: Bill Smith

The justifications for exclusions were for issues such as violent and disruptive behaviour, but the figures do not show the individual reasons in Norfolk.

Colin Collis, national executive member for Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for the NASUWT teaching union, said: “The problem is in many schools there is tension between the inclusion agenda and the standards agenda.

“It’s about doing the best you can for all the students and making sure the school isn’t put in a category of inadequate because of GCSE results. The inevitable conclusion of this is rather than see the results go down schools will exclude pupils.”

Mr Collis, who has worked in education for 28 years, added: “Special needs covers a huge range of different needs and the problem with most teachers is that they might have several pupils with them in the same class. They are expected to plan and execute a lesson including all those students. Teachers only have so many hours in the day to plan those lessons. It’s stressful and increasing the workload.”

His view was echoed by Terry Haydn, Professor of Education at the University of East Anglia, who said: “Schools are under enormous pressure to improve pupils’ examination results, but there needs to be consideration and scrutiny of the extent of which schools do their best to educate all pupils in their community, and do not simply make exam results look better by excluding pupils because they are less able or have special educational needs.”

He added teachers and head teachers had a difficult job in ensuring the best possible outcomes for all pupils.

Michael Bateman, Head of Education Inclusion Service at the Norfolk County Council, said they were looking at how other local authorities managed expulsions differently and added Norfolk’s high rate might reflect the county’s system of recording them.

Mr Bateman said he was working with the head teacher and governor associations on developing an ‘education inclusion strategy’, aimed at identifying good practice and schools that require support to improve.

He added: “We will be in a position for the new academic year to be clearer about this strategy and school responsibilities within that.”

The figures

According to the Department for Education, in Norfolk 0.53pc of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) statements, a document detailing a child’s learning difficulties and necessary help, were expelled from school during the 2013 to 2014 academic year.

This means roughly 21 pupils out of the 3,980 enrolled with SEN statements in Norfolk were permanently excluded.

In Cambridgeshire none of the pupils with SEN statements were expelled in the same academic year and in Suffolk the number was statistically so small it was not relevant.

Wokingham, in Berkshire, rated the highest for expulsions, with 0.62pc of 811 children with statements being permanently excluded. The third highest was Lincolnshire, which recorded 0.52pc of 3,101 children enrolled with statements.

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