Fewer children than ever excluded from UK schools

The latest school exclusion statistics reveal that fewer children than ever are being removed from schools across the UK.

Figures released last week by the Department of Education show that in 2012-2013, there were just six exclusions per 10,000 pupil enrolments – a drop of 50 per cent since 2006 -2007.

The rate of fixed period exclusions has also decreased, from 566 per 10,000 pupil enrolments in 2006 -2007 to 352 in 2012-2013.

The total number of pupils receiving one or more fixed period exclusion has also fallen dramatically in that time period – from 227,160 to 146,070.

Some have suggested that the decrease in exclusions across Britain could merely be due to schools providing their own 'in-house' referral units to avoid a negative reputation.

Schools reform minister Nick Gibb, however, has insisted that headteachers and other school staff have been given "more power than ever before" under the current Conservative government, which accounts for the latest fall in exclusions.

"We have introduced new search powers, no-notice detentions and have put schools back in charge of exclusion appeals," he added.

"These figures give further confirmation that our reforms are starting to have a real impact on improving behaviour in schools."

Jonny Proud, Supporter Development Coordinator at TLG – a Christian education charity – says that despite the reservations of some, these figures are positive. He also suggests that they are, in part, a result of churches who have partnered with TLG to help children and young people who struggle with school.

TLG runs education centres for young people who are at a crisis point in their education, or who have already been excluded, but Proud says the best way to help young people is through early intervention.

"We know that the earlier you get in with the child, the bigger impact you can have and the more likely it is that they're not going to have problems later on in life," he explains.

"It's best to be preventative, rather than just offer a cure. The church has a role to play in providing vital support to those who need it...if young people feel supported and valued, it's the biggest thing to shift those statistics."

He also says that though there are fewer children being excluded from schools, there is still more to be done.

"...there are thousands upon thousands of children and young people who desperately need support in school," he says.

"It's great that the statistics have gone down, but our work is not over yet. We want to encourage every church in this country to be supporting children and young people in their communities."

For more information go to www.tlg.org.uk

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