Increase in number of expulsions at Burnley schools is biggest in the county (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Increase in number of expulsions at Burnley schools is biggest in the county
THE number of students permanently excluded from Burnley’s secondary schools has more than doubled in the past two years.
The figures, released by the county council, mark the biggest increase in expulsions in any of Lancashire’s 14 boroughs.
A school governor has pledged to raise the ‘concerning’ issue at a children’s trust meeting tonight.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said he backed any headteacher excluding pupils from the classrooms for ‘genuine reasons’.
The Burnley statistics buck the county-wide trend, which show an overall decrease in permanent exlusions of 25 per cent across the same period.
In the 2010/11 academic year, nine children were excluded from Burnley's five secondary schools, but that figure shot up to 21 for the 2012/13 year, a rise of 133 per cent.
Labour Coun Bea Foster, a governor at Hambledon Community College, said: “We are naturally concerned about young people not being in attendance at school.
“There must be a good reason why our schools are excluding more than elsewhere.”
She said she would raise the matter at a meeting of Burnley Children and Young People's Trust tonight.
Mr Birtwistle, Burnley’s Liberal Democrat MP, said: “A lot of the headteachers are tired of some children not toeing the line.
“Their attitude is: ‘Why should all the other kids have to suffer at the hands of a few?’ and, if they are suspending troublesome kids for genuine reasons, then I fully support them.
“The percentage is small but any disruption can still make a mess of children’s education. Why should we let those children dictate the classroom?”
St John the Baptist Primary School headteacher Keiran Heakin, who has been assaulted twice during his career, once by a former pupil and once by a parent, said schoolchildren were under more pressure than ever before.
He said: “Burnley is a deprived area - that is a government fact.
"It is certainly true that kids have more to deal with than ever before and their home lives are more complicated.
“The credit crunch has thrown families into disarray with homes breaking up as a result. Children in our schools are going home to low-quality housing and problems with the bedroom tax.”
Lancashire County Council said five of its boroughs are taking part in a Department for Education (DFE) trial aimed at reducing permanent exclusions, although Burnley is not among the areas involved.
Bob Stott, Lancashire County Council's director for schools, said: “The raw data on exclusions doesn't necessarily tell the full story. “For example figures can vary due to changes in school policy or one-off serious incidents.
“While the total number of permanent exclusions across the five high schools in Burnley has risen in the academic year 2012 to 2013, the number of school days lost to fixed-term [temporary] exclusions has actually fallen by 30 per cent.
“We are currently involved in the DFE National Exclusion Trial which focuses on the use of early intervention and alternative provision to prevent exclusion.
“Five districts have been involved within Lancashire and in all districts exclusions have reduced.
“Even though Burnley was not part of the trial, it will benefit from the sort of measures that have significantly reduced exclusions in other districts.”
Gill Broom, headteacher at Hameldon Community College, said: “We haven't seen any problems here at Hameldon. However it is a very serious decision to exclude and one that is not made by the headteacher alone.”
Exclusions in Pendle fell from 15 to 11 in the same period, while Rossendale’s dropped from four to two.
Comments are closed on this article.