Shock rise in exclusions by Lancashire primary schools

A shock rise in the number of children excluded from primary schools in Lancashire has been highlighted in a new report.

School exclusions have increased            Picture posed by models
School exclusions have increased Picture posed by models

Latest figures show 59 pupils, aged between four and 11, were expelled in 2013/14 – more than double the number given permanent exclusions just two years earlier.

And the number of fixed period exclusions – ranging from one day to more than a week – also rose from 552 to 700 over the same two years.

The report, due to go before Lancashire County Council’s education scrutiny committee today, shows the county bucks the national trend where overall exclusions from state-funded schools have been steadily falling since 2006/07.

Education officials believe a strong approach to discipline may be behind the increase in exclusions in the county. But the LCC cabinet member for children, young people and schools, Coun Matthew Tomlinson, admitted a lot of work was also going on with school referral units across Lancashire in an attempt to bring the numbers down.

“I’m aware we have seen exclusions in primary schools rise in the past two or three years, although in secondary schools they are reducing,” said Coun Tomlinson. “While this can be seen as a strong approach to discipline, it also means that we have a number of pupils, albeit relatively small, who are vulnerable in some way.

“Ofsted inspections show that behaviour in the great majority of Lancashire schools is good and improving rapidly. However, we can’t afford to be complacent about this, and we’re working closely with our pupil referral units in a variety of ways to support schools and get the number of exclusions down.”

The Department for Education statistics show there were just 24 permanent exclusions from primary schools in the county during 2011/12. The following year that had risen to 35. And, in figures which are expected to be verified in the next two weeks, the total expelled last year shot up to 59.

Lancashire’s secondary schools also permanently excluded more pupils last year than in 2012/13, although the increase was only from 122 to 128 and followed a slight decrease the previous school year.