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Canterbury schools permanently exclude more pupils than other districts

by Paul Francis and Adam Williams


Canterbury schools permanently excluded more children than any other part of the county last year, shock figures have revealed.

The district’s schools accounted for one in five of all disruptive pupils ordered to leave and not return. Data across Kent showed numbers rose from 202 in 2009-10 to 250 in 2010-11, a 23% increase.

Kent County Council logo
Kent County Council logo

In Canterbury, secondary schools excluded 41 children and primary schools six. A further three were from special schools.

Reacting to the figures Ken Moffat, head of school at the city’s Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, admitted it was a balancing act between unruly behaviour and pupil safety.

He said: “It’s surprising to see Canterbury so high, but the figures can be misleading.

“Does it mean Canterbury head teachers are rightly less tolerant of poor behaviour or does it mean that we are less flexible in dealing with poor behaviour? It’s difficult to know.

“The government guidance given to schools is that we should resort to permanent exclusion for offences including serious violence, sexual abuse or assault, supplying an illegal drug or carrying an offensive weapon.”

Mr Moffat, also a member of the In Year Fair Access Panel, to which excluded pupils in east Kent are immediately referred, believes a secure school environment is their primary concern.

He added: “We’re trying to run orderly, fair and safe communities in which all have the right to freedom from any sort of persecution or threat.

“If it means we have to resort to exclusions in order to achieve that, then so be it.”

Across east Kent, 140 children were left without a place at school, more than half of all reported exclusions for all Kent.

Permanent exclusions are supposed to be a last resort for schools and only made where efforts to resolve persistent bad behaviour, including fixed-term exclusions, have failed.

County education chiefs say they are determined to tackle the worrying rise, which comes after four years in which numbers fell county-wide. KCC aims to drastically cut exclusions to fewer than 50 by 2015.

A review of the county council’s pupil referral units, where most disruptive pupils are sent, is already under way.

Read more reaction in this week's Kentish Gazette, out now.

What do you think? Emailkentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.ukor leave a comment below.

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