Exclusion increase down to funding cuts say local head teachers

A SENIOR councillor has claimed a rise in exclusions is a by-product of schools converting to academies.

Sunday, 6th January 2019, 5:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:32 pm
The Cowplain School headteacher, Ian Gates.

Councillor Matthew Winnington, cabinet member for health at Portsmouth City Council, attributed the rise in pupils being temporarily kicked out to changes in the education system.

At a recent meeting of Portsmouth's health and wellbeing board, he said academies, which run their own admissions policies, were more likely to exclude children.

Cllr Winnington said: '˜We know that rising exclusions is a national thing.

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Crofton School headteacher, Simon Harrison.

'˜Unfortunately it seems to be a by-product of academisation. I remember when we had the first academy in the city they were excluding a lot more children than any other schools.

'˜It does seem to be part of their ethos which is disappointing.

'˜It's helpful for us to see this is an issue. We all know the effect exclusions have on children. It causes numerous amounts of social problems, they will be at home a lot more as a result and if they have bad situations at home.'

There are 37 academies in Portsmouth, which are among approximately 3,300 across the country.

Headteacher at Horndean Technology College - Julie Summerfield

That is almost 15 times the amount of academies across the country in 2010 when there were just 203.

But a statement from the Ark Trust, which runs the Charter Academy in Portsmouth, said: 'Each of our schools will have its own exclusion and behaviour policies, but they all share a common theme: good behaviour is taught, reinforced and recognised and poor behaviour is not tolerated.

'All of our schools' policies are in line with Department for Education guidelines.'

 As well as the number of exclusions going up across Portsmouth and Hampshire, the rate of exclusions - how many different pupils a year are given one - is also rising.

In Portsmouth in 2014/15, 5.68 per cent of pupils across primary and secondary schools were punished in this way, increasing to 6.95 per cent the following year and 7.18 per cent in 2016/17, according to Department for Education and Skills figures.

In Hampshire the 2014/15 figure was 3.5 per cent, up to 3.82 per cent in 2015/16 and 4.26 per cent the following year.

Portsmouth's council launched the Miss School Miss Out Campaign in September in a bid to boost attendance.