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County Council Plans To Reduce School Exclusions

County Council Plans To Reduce School Exclusions

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Stuart Minting at 5:05pm 17th September 2019.

Education bosses battling mounting numbers of pupils being excluded from schools have been praised for a move to provide children more support in mainstream schools, but told it will not be a “complete solution”.

North Yorkshire County Council has unveiled detailed plans to support a sea change in the way children at risk of exclusion are handled, described by the authority as a “preventative and inclusive culture”.

The changes have proved controversial, sparking protests, and campaigners have claimed three of the county’s five pupil referral unit head teachers, have resigned as a result.

The council’s leading members will meet next week to consider the changes which will save the £1.2m and help offset spiralling pressures over funding children with high needs.

However, the council’s executive member for education, Councillor Patrick Mulligan said the main reason for the changes is to cut school exclusions. which have risen by 20 per cent between 2010 and 2017, Department for Education data shows.

Rising exclusions is a nationwide issue, but the rate in North Yorkshire was above the national average in 2017/18, with 26 out of 43 secondary schools permanently excluding at least one young person.

Teaching unions have claimed government cuts to education funding have left schools less able to help children with challenging behaviour before it escalates.

Cllr Mulligan said changes to the system are needed.

He added:

“Evidence shows that children and young people who are permanently excluded suffer in terms of educational outcomes, and life chances. So wherever possible we believe they should remain within mainstream education, in their local school with the right support and curriculum to meet their needs.”

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