Racist abuse, violence and drug use lead to 1,000 students excluded from school

More than 1,000 students were excluded from school in the past year.

More than 1,000 students were excluded from school in the past year. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Racist abuse, drug use, and bullying led to more than 1,000 school exclusions in North Somerset over the past year, new figures have shown.

They also show the number of children who have been excluded from school for violent behaviour has risen by more than 50 per cent in the past 12 months.

These statistics include all 77 state-funded secondary, primary and special schools in the district.

There were 1,102 cases of pupils being temporarily excluded from school (for up to 45 days) and 35 cases of pupils being permanently excluded.

The latest figures from the Office For National Statistics (ONS) also revealed a sharp rise in the number of pupils being expelled due to violence against an adult or fellow pupil, from 120 students in the 2014-15 school year to 185 in 2015-16.

North Somerset’s secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) disagrees with excluding pupils from school and told the Times there is a deeper reason for this kind of behaviour.

Jon Reddiford said: “Disruptive behaviour is often a result of students not being able to fully access the curriculum. What these students need is proper support.

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“The ever-decreasing funding and lack of staff to support such students means exclusion is sometimes an easy way out.

“No school does this lightly, but statistics show over time there are more of this type of exclusion. Excluding is a short-term fix which creates more long-term problems.”

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said a number of other options are tried by the schools and the council before deciding to exclude pupils.

They said: “If a child’s behaviour is not acceptable the school will use a number of deterrents to help change their behaviour. The child may be excluded if this doesn’t work.

“Depending on the circumstances leading to their exclusion, we will see if it is appropriate to put the child in another mainstream school to give them a second chance.

“If this is not deemed to be a suitable course of action, the child will be placed in our Voyage Learning Campus, based in a number of sites across the area.”

This campus is for students who are unable to use mainstream school and provides individual education programmes.