'Schools working closer with council' to tackle high exclusion rates in Doncaster schools

Academies in Doncaster are now working more closely with council officers in order to tackle high rates of exclusions.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 1:48 pm
Updated Monday, 5th August 2019, 11:46 am
Headteachers and council officers are now working more closely on exclusions

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones said there was a time where ‘no one seemed to want to engage’ with the council on such issues like children being expelled.

The issue of exclusions is regularly mentioned by officers in scrutiny meetings as Doncaster historically has one of the highest exclusion rates in the country.

Government data published in August 2018 found Doncaster excluded more than one in ten pupils from secondary schools.

The same figures also showed four Doncaster secondary schools kicked out at least one in five pupils during 2016/2017 academic year. All four schools featured in the top 30 for exclusions.

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Government policy in recent years has completely stripped local authorities of influence in the schools system and handed them to private education trusts.

“Be to truthful about this, we can’t control this alone. Schools under the academy system run themselves,” Mayor Jones said.

“We work along with all schools to try and keep young people in because education is paramount to their future lives.

“We’re now interfacing with the headteachers, having regular meetings which wasn’t there at one stage - there was a point where no one seemed to want to engage with the council - it was very autonomous.

“But we are now finding engagement is occurring between the local authority and the schools and that is vital in order to address this issue. That’s through the hard work of officers within the council because if we all get this right then everyone wins.

On the issue of more and more schools being converted into academies, the mayor added: “In truth, we need to be able to influence far more than we can. All we really do is simply carry out the administration work on admissions.”