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Devon - Initiative wins exclusions fall

Efforts to reform the school exclusion system in Devon have led to a big fall in the number of children expelled and suspended, new figures show.

Headteachers have been encouraged to use other solutions following a task force review. Councillors recommended that exclusions in primary schools should be stopped, and that they should only be used as a last resort in secondaries.

A new programme called "Stepping Stones" has reformed provision for expelled children in Devon, giving headteachers more control over pupil referral units.

Temporary exclusions for children in care in the county have fallen by 40 per cent and the number of permanent exclusions has fallen from 52 to 29 - with just two in primary schools.

Exclusion of children with statements of special educational need also remained lower than national levels.

All schools will be given a guide to behaviour management services and more teachers are completing a professional qualification in behaviour and attendance.

A "Supported Steps to School" programme has also been set up, whereby welfare officers and educational psychologists meet fortnightly to help children get back into school. KM.

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