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(UK) Middlesbrough: 52 students expelled last year; a third had special needs

Nov 22, 2022,(UK) Teesside Live: Middlesbrough schools dish out nearly 1,100 suspensions in just seven weeks

NE England

Middlesbrough schools dished out nearly 1,100 suspensions to children last half term.

In the seven weeks between the first school day in September and the October half-term holiday, Trinity Catholic College handed out 389 suspensions to its pupils. It has also permanently excluded six children – a disproportionate amount of the nine excluded by all Middlesbrough schools. It has the highest number of exclusions and suspensions of any secondary school in Middlesbrough. The Catholic academy excluded 17 children last year, nine in 2020/21 and five in 2019/20. In the first half term of the 2022/23 school year, there were a total of 1,097 suspensions across 13 schools, with secondary schools responsible for all but seven of them. However, not all primary schools have provided data.

Outwood Academy Ormesby has given out 322 suspensions and one permanent exclusion, and Outwood Academy Acklam has dished out 200 and one permanent exclusion. Acklam Grange High school has also excluded one pupil but has just 16 suspensions.

Schools provide the council with reasons why children have been permanently kicked out. For one child it was drug-related, four pupils were verbally threatening or abusive towards adults, one physically assaulted a pupil, two were violent towards adults, and for one there were 'multiple' reasons which were not specified.

In 2021/22, the highest number of exclusions were due to persistent disruptive behaviour and physical assaults. Labour’s Cllr Alma Hellaoui, who is a former teacher, said: “I find it really worrying that physical assault is there to that degree.” She asked for further clarification from the council on the nature of the violence.

In the 2021/22 school year, there were 52 permanent exclusions. Around a third of those children have special educational needs and disabilities.

The council’s education director Rob Brown said the data was an incomplete picture as not all schools had submitted yet but that exclusions are 34% down on last year. He added: “The interventions that we are doing on permanent exclusions are having an impact. However, the suspensions are continuing, so that’s where the attention is now focused.”

Mr Brown said that the local authority did not have as much intervention over suspensions as it does with exclusions as the council steps in once a child has been permanently kicked out.

To combat the high rates, a full-time exclusion manager has been hired and there is more support for parents about the process of challenging an exclusion. Trinity Catholic College and Outwood Ormesby have been identified as having higher-than-average levels so regular meetings are now held between the council, the head teachers and the trust leaders to analyse the data and focus on vulnerable pupils.


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