Thousands of children excluded from schools in Calderdale

Lee Mount Primary School
Lee Mount Primary School

Thousands of pupils in Calderdale have been excluded for offences including assault, sexual misconduct and racial abuse between 2010 and 2013.

Secondary schools excluded 2,971 pupils, while primary schools excluded 381 children.

There were 56 children excluded permanently from secondary schools and 13 from primary schools.

The overall figure has fallen from 1,443 in 2010-11 to 1,084 in 2011-12 and 825 in 2012-13.

Salterhebble and St Michael’s primary schools have both had pupils permanently excluded for physically assaulting pupils, while Moorside, Triangle, Ferney Lee primary’s have permanently excluded pupils for assaulting adults.

A pupil at Field Lane primary was given a fixed exclusion for sexual misconduct during the 2010-11 school year.

Pupils at Calder High and Todmorden High have been permanently excluded for theft, a pupil at St Catherine’s High School, which closed in July 2013, was permanently excluded for sexual misconduct and a pupil at Park Lane was permanently excluded for racial abuse.

There were two fixed exclusions handed out at Christchurch Primary in Pellon for racial abuse during 2011-12.

Pupils at Todmorden High and Park Lane were permanently excluded for assaulting fellow students.

Secondary schools have handed out 21 fixed exclusions for bullying, 100 related drugs or alcohol, 291 for assaults against pupils and 46 for assaults against adults.

There are over 19,000 pupils in attendance at the 75 maintained schools in Calderdale. There are currently 68 primary and 7 secondary schools, which include one secondary special school and two primary special schools.

Lee Mount had the highest number of fixed and premanent exclusions combined of any primary school in Calderdale.

Lee Mount’s Chair of Governors, Joe Collins, said: “At Lee Mount Primary School we take behaviour management very seriously, and have been complimented on our approach in managing behaviour to get the very best out of our children.

“We use learning mentors to ensure that individuals with behavioural problems are supported. Excluding a pupil is always a last resort.

“Our most recent Ofsted report confirms that ‘children have good attitudes to our school and relationships are very good. Pupils behave well. The leadership and management of the school are very good and the head teacher provides outstanding leadership’.

“In the 2013 annual parents’ questionnaire all parents perceive that management of behaviour within school is outstanding and consider the school ensures that their child is well looked after. 99% of parents consider that the school is led and managed well, and that their child is safe in school.”

Calderdale Council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Stuart Smith, said: “Excluding a pupil from school is not something that we take lightly.

“Fixed term exclusions can be a useful part of a behaviour management strategy, but Calderdale schools use this method as rarely as possible. On average our schools use it less often than both the regional and national average.

“In Calderdale, permanent exclusion from school is something that happens to less than 0.1 per cent of pupils, and this number is continuously falling. Even with this small number, schools work together to make sure that pupils who are permanently excluded are offered a place at an alternative school as quickly as possible.”

Sue McMahon, Calderdale NUT Divisional Secretary said: “There are occasions when exclusion is the appropriate action to take, what needs to be noted, is that we are talking of a very small minority of pupils.

“It is encouraging to note that the number of exclusions has fallen dramatically over the period in question.

“The figures show that Calderdale schools take their responsibility seriously, and are prepared to act appropriately on the rare occasions that it is necessary.”