Exclusion Escalation

Birmingham school exclusion rate rises due to poor management of special needs pupils

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Councillor Matt Bennett

Physical attacks against teachers have risen resulting in Birmingham primary school pupils being more likely to be permanently excluded.

Figures from 2014-2015 revealed there were 76 permanent exclusions of primary school children in the city. 25 pupils were excluded for physical assault, an increase from last year’s figure of 15. Temporary exclusions meanwhile are on the increase with 333 pupils excluded for physical attacks.

Conservative councillor Matt Bennett, Shadow Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Schools, argued that the exclusions were not a result of a broken society but rather poor handling of special needs children who react harshly as a result.

Councillor Bennett said, “There’s a big problem. Rather than dealing with children with special needs in the right way, they are excluded.

“The support is just not there. Sometimes it is the fault of a school and most of the time it is the fault of the local authority that the right kind of school place is not there. We have been highlighting problems for some time, the council needs to get a grip, and fast.”

Colin Diamond, council director for education, has urged that they are making ‘every effort’ to work with parents and schools to reduce exclusions.

He claimed, “While disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated in our schools, permanent exclusion should always be a last resort because of the stigma that goes with it and the impact it has on the education of young people.

“With regard to pupils with special educational needs, while there is much good practice we are aware that many families are not satisfied with the service they receive, and issues around SEN (Special Educational Needs) could contribute to poor behaviour and subsequent exclusion.”

He added there is a full review of SEN arrangements in Birmingham, “We do plan to review SEN arrangements in Birmingham to ensure there is a fair and transparent decision-making process and a sharper focus on building resilience and independence in our young people.”

 

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