‘It’s a worrying trend’: Tower Hamlets schools issue more than 1,000 exclusions, figures reveal
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Schools in the borough issued just over 1,000 exclusions last year, government figures reveal.
In total state-funded primaries, secondaries and special schools in Tower Hamlets issued a total of 1,066 fixed period exclusions punishing 715 youngsters out of 46,679 by telling them to stay away from school for a set period of time.
Of the total, 219 were issued for attacks on pupils and 141 for threatening an adult.
Of the inner London boroughs Newham’s schools issued the most (2,186) while City of London’s issued least – three.
Nationally, fixed term and permanent exclusions have risen over the last five years from 7,616,870 in 2012-13 to 8,025,075 last year.
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London regional secretary for the National Union of Teachers Martin Powell-Davies said: “Unfortunately, these are not figures that come as a surprise. It’s a worrying trend.
“Schools are under enormous pressure. They are told that if they fail to reach targets for exam results they risk being deemed failing schools.
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“Yet at the same time the government is cutting back on support services.”
As a result students with behavioural, mental health or special educational needs fail to get help, Mr Powell-Davies said.
“For some schools the only way they can cope is to exclude rather than give the support they would like to,” he added.
And he predicted exclusions could increase if the funding pressures on school worsen.
He said: “We have got more alienated pupils not enjoying school because teachers are driven to teach to the test. That provides an environment which is harder for students who are struggling. They can feel demoralised. That creates behavioural issues.”
There were nine permanent exclusions last year – where children were kicked out of a school – the third lowest of the inner London boroughs. Across London, Ealing permanently excluded the most at 78.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “We want every child to benefit from a world class education, with the right support in place, so they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
“Schools should only use permanent exclusions as a last resort but we do support teachers taking proportionate steps.”