County tackling rise in expulsions

THE number of pupils being expelled from local schools is so high East Sussex County Council has decided to take extra steps to improve children’s behaviour during lessons.

Earlier this week councillors agreed to a raft of new measures to reduce the numbers being suspended or expelled from school in the county – with extra attention being made to problem pupils at primary schools and those children with special needs who are being expelled.

The county council’s new approach will borrow heavily from work being done by neighbouring authorities and follows an in-depth review of school exclusions across East Sussex.

That study, according to the council, found too many young people were missing out on school because of their behaviour and the authority’s director of children’s services Matt Dunkley said it was time the council sent a strong message to schools that levels of exclusion were too high.

Among guidelines sent out this week the council has recommended better assessment and support for children with special needs and asked for more involvement of school governing bodies in monitoring and challenging exclusions.

The council also said it would help make sure schools had access to better training on all aspects of behaviour management. The council’s governor training programme will also be revised to ensure it included more of the issues around exclusion, and guidance to parents and carers will be reviewed.

Councillor David Elkin, the council’s head of children’s and adults’ services, said, “In recent years we have seen a significant drop in exclusions in many of our schools, and across the board with temporary exclusions. But they are still high and last year many of the numbers actually increased.

“We need to understand why we still have high levels of exclusion and we need to learn from the schools are not excluding pupils.

“Excluding pupils does not solve the problem of bad behaviour – it just moves it somewhere else.”