County council looks to dip into government fund to help address school exclusion problem

Female teacher reprimanding a male student

Female teacher reprimanding a male student - Credit: Getty Images/Monkey Business

Half-a-million pounds of government money could be put towards tackling exclusion in Norfolk's schools, after a bid was submitted by council officers.

It comes after recent figures revealed the county's rate of permanent exclusion sits above the national average, with 188 pupils permanently excluded from schools this academic year alone.

The figures have led to Norfolk County Council submitting a bid to the Department for Education for £500,000 of funding to allow it to support schools in reducing the use of exclusions.

The figures - which showed 138 of the exclusions were from secondary schools - also sparked concerns from members of the council's children's services committee, who quizzed officers on why the numbers were above the national average.

Emma Corlett, Labour councillor for the Town Close ward, said: 'I am really concerned about exclusions in years 10 and 11 - it can have such a big impact on life choices and that age is such an important stage of life.'

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Conservative councillor Graham Middleton raised concerns about exclusion rate being much higher in the autumn term; in secondary schools alone 80 out the 138 exclusions were made in the autumn - more than half.

He said: 'As there tends do be more exclusions in the autumn term, are schools being to quick to make the decision?'

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Chris Snudden, the council's assistant director for education said this trend was mainly due to the autumn term being a longer term than the spring.

She added: 'This picture is reflected nationally as well.'

Officers were also asked why exclusions tend to be more frequent in secondary schools than primary. Of the exclusions today, almost three out of four were from secondary schools.

Ms Snudded said: 'It is not unusual for secondary schools to be here and the exclusions are predominantly from Year 10 and 11.

'While the most frequent reason is persistent disruptive behaviour, beyond this there is a very broad range of reasons schools may decide this is the right course of action. Some may even be one-off outbursts of extreme behaviour.'

The council awaits the outcome of the funding application.

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