Labour’s Education Spokesperson on Suffolk County Council, Cllr Jack Abbott has spoken of his deep concern over the revelation that the fixed term exclusion rate for primary schools in Suffolk is more than double the national average and the second highest in the country.
Figures released by the Department of Education have shown that 1,741 fixed term exclusions were given by Suffolk primary schools in 2016/17, a rate of 3.01% – 3 per 100 pupils. Nationally, the figure is 1.37% with only Telford and Wrekin having a higher exclusion rate.
Cllr Abbott has warned of the impact exclusions can have on a child’s education and said that much more needed to be done to tackle the disproportionately high exclusion rate in Suffolk.
He commented; “We know that a child’s life chances are essentially set by the time they leave primary school and that exclusions can have a majorly detrimental impact on their education.
“Our schools should be as inclusive as possible with exclusions only being used as a last resort but I am deeply concerned that, with 3 in every 100 primary school pupils being excluded, this method is becoming normalised here in our county.
“We have to move away from an arbitrary system of exclusion and start fundamentally dealing with the reasons why a child’s behaviour may deteriorate, start supporting our schools and families properly and actually address the real issues at hand.
“Suffolk’s 4-11 year olds are not more disruptive than their peers across the rest of the country so the Tories at Suffolk County Council must do much more to help drive these numbers down as a matter of urgency.”
In 2016/2017 there were a total of 4,655 exclusions in Suffolk schools, both fixed and permanent, a rate of 4.6% and an average of 24 children for every school day. This is an increase of 53% over the past five years.