Racist abuse, drug use, and bullying led to more than 1,000 school exclusions in North Somerset

PUBLISHED: 07:37 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:05 16 August 2017

More than 1,000 pupils were excluded from North Somerset schools.

More than 1,000 pupils were excluded from North Somerset schools.

SIMONE BECCHETTI

The number of children in North Somerset who have been excluded from school for violent behaviour has risen by more than 50 per cent, new figures have revealed, with more than 1,000 students being removed from classrooms over the past year.

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 reasons varied from bullying, racist abuse, drug and alcohol-related incidents and disruptive behaviour.

However, there has been 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) says excluding students is not the way to go.

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

“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 there are lots of other ways schools and the council try to deal with unacceptable behaviour.

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.

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