Thousands of children excluded from schools

School classroom stock'Pupils walk along a school corridor. 9 July 2002
School classroom stock'Pupils walk along a school corridor. 9 July 2002

Thousands of pupils have been excluded from school for offences including assault, drugs and racial abuse during the past two years.

Other reasons given for children being removed from the classroom included sexual misconduct, threatening, abusive and disruptive behaviour and for damaging property.

Youngsters who were involved in violent attacks, bullying and thefts were also banned from lessons.

In total, 2,728 children at primary and secondary schools in the district were excluded between September 2012 and June 2014. Of those, 90 pupils were permanently expelled.

And three of these were primary school pupils under the age of 11.

The figures, obtained by the Express, showed secondary schools handed out 20 permanent exclusions for assaults against pupils, 11 for assaults against adults and 25 for disruptive behaviour. They also expelled 11 pupils for drug and alcohol offences and three for sexual misconduct.

Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy, on Wakefield Road, suspended pupils on 314 occasions and expelled nine children. Principal Pam Massett said schools cannot be judged against each other as some have double the amount of pupils.

She said: “We have a high expectation of students for behaviour. We have a highly skilled team who support students to manage and improve their behaviour if there are any issues. But if there are serious breaches of behaviour we will permanently exclude students. This is for the good of the vast majority of students who behave in accordance with expectations.”

Outwood Grange Academy, on Potovens Lane, excluded pupils on 238 occasions and made 15 permanent exclusions – the highest amount of permanent exclusions given by any school in the district.

Airedale Academy on Crewe Road, Castleford, handed out 205 fixed term exclusions and expelled 12 pupils.

Persistent disruptive behaviour was recorded as the most common reason for fixed exclusions from schools.

Secondary school pupils were suspended for a total of 5,178 days during the past two years, while primary school children were banned for 259 days.

Verbal or threatening abuse against adults saw secondary school pupils excluded for 3,110 days, while primary school children were kept out of classrooms for 189 days.

Secondary school pupils banned for drug and alcohol offences missed a total of 696 days, 180 days for racial abuse and 149 days for sexual misconduct.

Primary school pupils were suspended for nine days for racial abuse and five days for sexual misconduct.

There are 39 term weeks in a school year meaning on average each school has 195 school days.

Sally Kincaid, Wakefield branch secretary for the National Union of Teachers, said the pressure being put on children is becoming too much.

She said: “The figures do not come as a surprise because children are consistently being told they need to deliver, so some rebel against that.

“In the older days if children had an interest in something else they’d be encouraged to engage with it, but now everything is about results.

“League tables are for football managers and shouldn’t be used to put more expectations on children.”

John Wilson, Wakefield Council’s corporate director for children and young people, said: “The council works with schools to ensure that pupils in danger of exclusion are appropriately supported to get the help and support they need.

“Exclusions are always a last resort but it is necessary to be clear about what is acceptable and what is not, and what is also in the interest of other pupils and staff.

“Individual schools are required to publish their behaviour policy each year and this covers their approach to exclusions within the statutory framework.”

No-one from Airedale Academy or Outwood Grange Academy was available for comment.