Permanent exclusion rates in Sheffield secondary schools 65 per cent higher than national average, figures reveal
The number of Sheffield school pupils receiving a permanent exclusion is 65 per cent higher than the national average, government figures have revealed.
Department for Education statistics show 104 secondary school children in Sheffield received a permanent exclusion during the 2017/18 academic year.
Meanwhile, 4,401 were handed a fixed-term exclusion – in which they are removed from school for a fixed period of time – with pupils missing out on an average of nearly five school days over the course of the year.
The picture is the same across much of Yorkshire and the Humber, which has some of the highest rates of fixed-term exclusions in the country.
In a bid to reduce exclusion rates, education charity The Difference is to host its IncludED conference in Sheffield, which aims to change perceptions of working with excluded pupils.
Kiran Gill, CEO and founder of The Difference, said: “I found that the most vulnerable children are most at risk of exclusion. Children suffering from mental health problems are 10 times more likely to be excluded, and sometimes there are a variety of other factors that affect these children and make them vulnerable, some have experienced trauma or have learning needs.
“Once they get excluded their life chances become very different, they are half as likely to have a qualified teacher in their class.
“Less than five per cent will go on to achieve a Grade 4 pass in English and maths at GCSE. Excluded pupils will be even more vulnerable to exploitation; nine in 10 teens in youth custody were excluded. We need more of the best teachers in the country working with these children who need them most.”
A former school teacher from Doncaster, Kiran founded the charity to raise the status and expertise of working with vulnerable learners.
Kiran hopes that through the charity’s Difference Leaders programme, teachers can help re-write the story on school exclusions.
She added: “The Difference Leaders programme is a two-year career route, and it aims to tackle the issue from the perspective of schools by recruiting middle and early senior leaders from mainstream schools.
“We are recruiting teachers who are already fantastic at their job and will give them specialist training alongside a placement in a Pupil Referral Unit – designed to help children who may not fit into mainstream school for a number of reasons – before helping them return to mainstream schools so they can impart their newly found knowledge and help more vulnerable children.”
Earlier this year the long-awaited Timpson review of exclusions in England was conducted, spearheaded by former children’s minister Edward Timpson who campaigned for many years against the ‘disproportionate’ levels of exclusions amongst vulnerable groups.
It found that 78 per cent of permanently excluded pupils either had special educational needs (SEN), were classed as ‘in need’ or were eligible for free school meals and that children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds were 45 per cent more likely to be excluded than other pupils.
The IncludED North conference will be held at Sheffield Park Academy on Saturday, November 9.