County leads the way in cutting exclusions

school exclusion
school exclusion

EAST Sussex has seen a drop of nearly a quarter in secondary school pupils permanently excluded from school.

It comes at a time when East Sussex County Council is one of 11 authorities in the UK taking part in a pilot scheme aimed at reducing the number of pupils excluded from secondary schools.

The early indications are that schools are taking more responsibility for pupils at risk of exclusion, working with each other and local authorities to improve the quality of alternative education in their areas.

In East Sussex the most common reasons given for a permanent exclusion were persistent disruptive behaviour (28.41%), physical assault to pupils (15.91%), and physical assault to staff (12.5%).

A total of 1,463 pupils received one or more fixed period exclusion in 2011-12, down 7.8% since 2010-11.

The number of education days lost as a result of fixed period exclusions was 6,375.

Nathan Caine, East Sussex County Council head of education support, behaviour and attendance service, said: “We are one of 11 local authority areas in the country taking part in the DfE trial.

“This involves us working with local schools to offer different ways of supporting children who might otherwise be excluded.

“It’s about increasing the choice and flexibility for schools and helping them to develop more creative solutions in using alternative provisions for children with additional needs.

“We feel the trial is progressing very well and our participation in it is one of the main reasons why permanent exclusions in secondary schools went down by 24% in the last academic year, part of a 3.4% decrease.

While the pilot appears to be having some success in terms of secondary schools, now East Sussex will hope a similar scheme could apply to primary schools.

Latest figures showed the number of primary pupils excluded in the county increased by a shocking 47 percent from 2010-11 to 2011-12.