Ofsted attacks high exclusion rates in the North

The schools' inspectorate will be writing to headteachers to highlight the fact that they have the highest exclusion rates in the country

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Ofsted is this week writing to secondary headteachers in the North and the North East, to express concerns about the high rates of fixed-period exclusions.

Cathryn Kirby, the inspectorate’s regional director for the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, will be highlighting the fact that exclusion rates are among the highest in the country in eight of the local authorities covered by the region.

Ms Kirby is also calling on her inspectors to pay particular attention to schools’ use of exclusions when making judgements about leadership, management and pupil behaviour.

Middlesbrough, Barnsley, Redcar and Cleveland, Doncaster, North Lincolnshire, Rotherham, Sheffield and North East Lincolnshire are among the 10 local authorities with the highest rates of secondary-school exclusions in the country.

Tes recently conducted an investigation into the dramatic increase in school exclusions over the last year. Redcar and Cleveland and Doncaster were both among the 10 authorities with the greatest year-on-year increase, of 214 per cent and 117 per cent respectively. Redcar and Cleveland’s increase was the second-highest nationally.

Ofsted report

Ms Kirby said: “It is difficult to understand why fixed-period exclusion should be so much more necessary in these eight local authorities, compared with others.

“Schools should only ever use exclusions as a last resort. If not properly applied, being removed from school can disrupt a child’s education and affect their future life chances.”

In her annual report, published in December, Amanda Spielman, Ofsted chief inspector, criticised schools that used exclusions in order to boost their academic results.

She called on inspectors to look closely for signs that pupils were being illegally taken off the school roll – and to investigate reports of certain children being kept at home on inspection days.

She said that exclusions should only be used when pupils’ behaviour justified it: for example, if they were violent, had been threatening teachers or were compromising other pupils’ ability to learn.

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