'We need to get it right at the start' - EDP says chain of factors is behind rise in children withou

There is a growing number of children in Norfolk who are without schooling. Photo credit should read

There is a growing number of children in Norfolk who are without schooling. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Education, education, education is a rather hackneyed phrase nowadays. But it is still a concise summary of how important schooling is to our children.

Education is the provider of hope, of opportunities and of a pathway to taking command of your destiny. Without it, life lacks direction and depth – and too often features crime and poverty.

So it is deeply concerning to see that more than 100 Norfolk children are currently without any sort of schooling.

It would be easy to point the finger of blame at Norfolk County Council, which is ultimately responsible – and no doubt it does have things to improve upon. But the number of children kicking their heels is the result of a chain of factors.

It is clearly linked to a worrying rise in the number of children being expelled from Norfolk's schools. We hope that schools are not taking the route of permanent exclusions as a way to improve exam outcomes and league table positions.

The re-introduction of a penalty charge to a school every time it expels a pupil might make that more difficult to contemplate.

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The beginning of the chain, without which the end would not exist, is the reported increase in "challenging behaviour" among younger children. That is not the fault of schools, but more down to parents and social environment.

We need to get it right at the start – breaking the chain that leads to children being in the wilderness.

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