Trust behind Short Stay School for Norfolk relaunches school support to tackle permanent exclusions

The Locksley School, part of The Short Stay School for Norfolk. Photo : Steve Adams

The Locksley School, part of The Short Stay School for Norfolk. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

A package of support for Norfolk schools has been relaunched in a bid to bring down the soaring number of expelled pupils.

Last month, we revealed how almost 100 children were waiting for an education after rising permanent exclusions - up from 170 in 2013/14 to 296 in 2015/16 - saw places at the Short Stay School for Norfolk (SSSfN), where pupils are sent after exclusion, become hugely oversubscribed.

In response to the demand, Engage Educational Services - an arm of the Engage Trust, which runs SSSfN - has relaunched its package of school support to ward off further expulsions.

Schools will be able to subscribe to the programme from £2,000 a year, which the trust says would be cheaper than the potential fine for exclusions being considered by Norfolk County Council.

Stuart Lee, company manager, said: 'There is just no money in schools and budgets in general are being stretched. Unfortunately, that means that support staff are often affected.

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'Many of the schools that come to us will have tried everything in school, so we would then come in, spend time with the student and look at what we do and come up with a plan.'

The project has seen EES work with the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), the Magdalen Group, education psychologists, Alpha Inclusion and Willow Tree Learning.

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It will include specialist autistic spectrum assessments, educational psychology support, in-school mentoring and support, training and guidance for staff and clinical psychologist support for mental health needs.

While the overall service itself is not new, it has been revamped and expanded in response to the rising permanent exclusions.

Increasing mental health and behavioural needs has been blamed for the rise, and council figures for 2015/16 show that persistent disruptive behaviour or physical assault against other pupils were behind the majority of exclusions.

Des Reynolds, chief executive at the Engage Trust, last month said the trust was 'deeply concerned' by the figures, which had seen the school become full by the end of September - just weeks into the term.

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