Exclusions rise prompts call for help

20th June 2008 at 01:00
Schools and parents should be better supported to deal with poor pupil behaviour and exclusions
Schools and parents should be better supported to deal with poor pupil behaviour and exclusions.

Andrew Davies, the Tories' new education spokesperson, this week called on the Assembly government in the Senedd to side with schools as temporary exclusions steadily rise in Wales.

During the debate, Mr Davies, AM for South Wales Central, said schools and governors needed to have more protection from "recriminations" for exclusion decisions.

But some schools were criticised for their heavy-handed policies. Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru AM, cited the Sarika Watkins-Singh bangle case (see above) as one that should not have led to exclusion.

Eleanor Burnham, Lib Dem AM for North Wales, said there needed to be "more inspiration in the curriculum to stop children becoming lost to the system".

The Tories also called for an action plan in response to the National Behaviour and Attendance Review, launched last month.

The report said the rise of unofficial, or even managed, exclusions meant many children were left to roam the streets. Some parents interviewed by researchers said their child had been excluded for what they considered a minor offence, such as dyeing their hair.

Inspectorate Estyn also said this week that schools were becoming increasingly reluctant to offer places to children or teenagers who had been excluded or placed in custody, leaving many young people without educational entitlements.

But one headteacher, who did not wish to be named, from a school with high levels of exclusion, said: "We either have well behaved or badly behaved schools - it's a simple choice for us."

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