Council records 40% jump in school exclusions
Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporter
A local authority has recorded a 39.37% increase in the number of children being excluded from school because of ‘adverse behaviours’ according to a council report.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council People scrutiny committee on Tuesday 30 January, councillors will receive a six month performance report on Education covering 1 April to 30 September 2023.
The report contains a section on school exclusions which show that the overall figures for the 2022/2023 academic year has risen to 1176 in Secondary Schools compared to 713 in 2021/2022. This equates to a rise of 39.37 per cent.
The days of education lost by excluded secondary school pupils has gone up to 1,592 in 2022/2023 from 1,150.5 in 2021/2022 and this equates to a rise of 27.73 per cent.
One secondary school referred to in the report as school “A”, has seen exclusions rocket by 47.85 per cent to 652 in 2022/2023 from 340 in 2021/2022.
The number of expulsions which is known in the report as “permanent exclusions” was six for 2022/2023 and remains the same as it was in 2021/2022.
Similarly in primary schools the number of exclusions has risen to 130 in 2022/2023 from 90 in 2021/2022.
But the trend is bucked in the county borough’s Special Schools with the number of exclusions in 2022/2023 being 19 which is down from 33 in 2021/2022.
The report said: “Historically in Blaenau Gwent, exclusions have been represented by high numbers and this had started to reduce slightly.
“However, we are now experiencing an increase in exclusions related to an increase in adverse behaviours in school.”
In a bid to curb the exclusion the council has introduced a Vulnerable Learner Panel (VLP) which is intended to support schools and the children that are “at risk” of expulsion.
The report said: “The local authority is seeing a significant increase in referrals to VLP, and we need to be mindful that there is only limited provision and funding available.”
Councillors will be asked to consider the information and make recommendations that can: “contribute to the continuous assessment of effectiveness by making appropriate recommendations to Cabinet” or just accept the report as presented.
The report will then go on to be presented for discussion to senior councillors at a future Cabinet meeting.
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