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'I refuse to believe Norfolk children are among the worst in the country': MP dismayed by rise in expulsions

Norman Lamb MP spoke in the House of Commons last year on the

Norman Lamb MP spoke in the House of Commons last year on the "shocking" number of children excluded from Norfolk's schools. He is pictured here speaking in another debate. Photo: House of Commons

House of Commons

The number of children being expelled from Norfolk's schools is still "unacceptably high", an MP has claimed.

Norman Lamb has called on the government, Norfolk County Council and Ofsted to help bring down the number of expulsions in the county.

Department for Education data released on Thursday showed a rise in exclusions at the county's schools in the 2017/18 academic year, when 6,743 children were suspended and 212 expelled.

And provisional data for 2018/19 indicates a further rise in expulsions.

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North Norfolk MP Mr Lamb was particularly concerned about the impact on children with special educational needs, who he said were overrepresented among excluded students.

"We are treating vulnerable children as culpable when actually they need help," he said.

"I refuse to believe that children in Norfolk are among the worst in the country, that's nonsense."

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: "This is a national issue from which Norfolk is by no means immune. 
"But we want all of Norfolk's children to have a good education so that they can meet their potential and this is what is driving our £120m investment in transforming special needs education and alternative provision in our county and create 500 additional specialist school places, the programme that will see us build up to four new special schools, create more specialist places in mainstream schools as well as supporting schools and delivering more outreach."

A Department for Education spokesman said it would continue to back headteachers in using expulsion "as a last resort".

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