800 pupils excluded from school every year

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The number of pupils excluded from schools in St Helens is rising each year, with almost 800 banned for a fixed term.

Figures released under Freedom of Information rules reveals that, so far this academic year, 768 fixed term exclusions have been handed out and one youngster has been permanently suspended.

Shockingly, despite the full year not complete, this number has risen from 666 in 2013/14 and 624 in 2012/13.

In academic year 2011/2012 539 fixed term exclusions were reported to the authority. The most common reason for students being forced to miss some periods of school this academic year was verbal abuse or threatening behaviour against an adult, with this affecting 200 pupils.

Persistent disruptive behaviour was the cause of 128 temporary exclusions and 80 youths were punished for attacking another pupil.

A total of 58 youths were temporarily banned from the classroom for assaulting a teacher and 21 were sent away for drug or alcohol related issues.

Threatening a pupil or 
verbally abusing them has been the cause for 37 fixed term exclusions, plus a further nine youngsters have been suspended for bullying and eight for racial harassment.

Four students have been excluded for a short while for sexual misconduct, 13 have been caught out causing
 damage to school property and two have been briefly banned for stealing.

Department for Education figures show a total of 209 pupils temporarily excluded for ‘other reasons.’

The reason behind the leap in numbers isn’t clear, but education chiefs in St Helens are adamant they will clamp down on problem behaviour.

A council spokesman said: “This is something we take very seriously – and our Strategic Behaviour and

Attendance Partnership Group - which includes school leaders and local authority managers - will be taking a close look at this issue.

“We support schools with a range of measures including the Local Authority Behaviour Improvement Team - who provide consultation and support to schools around behaviour issues.

“Inclusion Bases can also be found at six secondary schools - where young people can be referred as an alternative to fixed term exclusion.

“Lead Behaviour Professional meetings provide a forum for schools to discuss and share practice around behaviour-related strategy, policy and practice.

“We also have a Restorative Justice strategy in place for more serious offences - which reduces the likelihood of a recurrence and future fixed term exclusion.

“Young people with behavioural difficulties – and who may have experienced fixed term exclusion – can also be helped with transfer to another school.

“We also provide support for Drug and Alcohol related issues as well as Anti Bullying support.”