Leading education figures across Norfolk to discuss proposed expulsion charges and special needs funding

Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Eastern Daily Press, Archant

An important meeting of leading figures in Norfolk education is being held today.

Members of the Schools Forum are meeting in Mattishall, near Dereham, to talk about a range of issues.

The Schools Forum is a Norfolk County Council body made up of teachers, including heads, and academy representatives which makes big decisions about education.

Amongst the items to be discussed are proposals to introduce charges for schools which exclude pupils, in response to soaring numbers of expulsions in the county.

This has meant that almost 100 children in Norfolk are currently missing out on any type of education.

The number of permanent exclusions around the county leapt from 170 in 2013/14 to 195 in 2014/15 and 296 in 2015/16, with 137 children excluded in the autumn term of this year alone.

To recoup costs and act as a disincentive, Norfolk County Council is considering introducing a penalty charge to 'reflect the true cost of exclusions', as parents accuse the system of failing children.

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The inflated demand for places at the Short Stay School for Norfolk (SSSfN) - which is contracted by Norfolk County Council to offer places to excluded pupils - means it is bursting at the seams, with children relying on e-learning courses as they wait, sometimes for months, to get back into a classroom.

The Schools Forum will also be discussing funding arrangements for special education needs is also due to be discussed at the meeting.

See this website later for more.

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