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(UK) Cheshire: Suspensions soar; SPED students TWICE AS LIKELY to be excluded

August 9, 2021, Cheshire Live: Cheshire West schools getting tougher with pupils as number of suspended children rockets

NW England Pupils were increasingly being suspended from Cheshire schools - until the pandemic hit…. The autumn term of 2019, the term when schools were last able to fully open, saw rising numbers, but figures were down overall for the year, as lockdown restrictions saw most young people learning remotely. Schools across the county suspended students on 2,795 occasions during the autumn term, the latest Department for Education figures show. That was up from 2,593 suspensions in the same term of the previous year…. Across England, the number of permanent exclusions rose by five per cent during the autumn term to 3,167, while suspensions increased by 14 per cent to more than 178,400. School closures due to Covid-19 had a substantial effect on the number of permanent exclusions and suspensions during 2019-20…. General secretary Paul Whiteman said: “One of the best ways to avoid exclusions is for the pupil to receive access to specialist, cross-sector support as early as possible. “Where this works best, mainstream schools in partnership with specialist settings, such as alternative provision, are able to maintain education and support for our most vulnerable pupils. “Sadly, we know that schools are finding it increasingly hard to access that support.” The most common reason for a Cheshire student to be permanently excluded was persistent disruptive behaviour, which can include challenging behaviour, disobedience and repeated rule breaking…. Disruptive behaviour also accounted for the most suspensions, at 1,596, while 886 were recorded for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour towards an adult, and 550 for physical assaults on other pupils. … Expulsion and suspension rates have historically been higher for students from certain ethnic groups, as well as pupils from poorer backgrounds and those with special educational needs (SEN). … And pupils with a SEN statement or education, health and care (EHC) plan, which set out the specialist support they need, were more than twice as likely to be excluded and nearly five times as likely to be suspended.


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