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1,387 exclusions made by secondary schools
NEARLY 1,400 exclusions were made in secondary schools in Basingstoke and Deane during the last academic year.
Figures released by Hampshire County Council show that from September 2009 to August 2010, 1,387 exclusions were made at the 11 secondary schools.
The highest number was at The Vyne Community School, in Vyne Road, South View, Basingstoke, where a total of 265 exclusions occurred, while the lowest was just 20 at Bishop Challoner Catholic Secondary School in St Michael’s Road, South Ham, Basingstoke.
The figures relate to the number of fixed period exclusions made at each school, but do not show how many days each exclusion was made for, or how many different pupils were excluded.
The exclusions could be for any length of time, from just a few hours, where a pupil is sent home for the rest of the day. However, the majority last an average of 2.2 days.
The figures also show that 18 pupils were permanently excluded, although the council could not say at which schools these took place because of the risk of identifying individual pupils.
Tony Corish, headteacher at Bishop Challoner, said excluding pupils is a last resort. He uses an alternative system for punishing students, by getting them to attend detention on a Saturday.
He said: “We have lots of methods to use to prevent behaviour getting to the stage where exclusion is necessary.
“We are not convinced that, except in the most extreme cases, exclusion works. There are other ways to punish and if someone needs help to modify their behaviour, then sitting at home isn’t going to do that.
“Those schools that have the highest exclusion figures very often have the lowest exam results.”
The Vyne Community School is currently in “special measures” after an Ofsted team judged it to be inadequate.
Rebecca Parrett, assistant head-teacher at the school, said: “Our exclusion figures were higher last year than they have been for some time.
“In our view, this was a result of a mixture of factors, not least of which was the fact that, as a school, we were striving to raise the bar on the expectations that we have of students. This is something that was noted in the Ofsted report.”
Fort Hill Community School, in Kenilworth Road, Winklebury, Basingstoke, made a total of 211 exclusions during 2009-10, which was the second highest figure after The Vyne.
Headteacher Lesley Lawson said: “We want children in school, but if a child swears or is in a fight, I will exclude them and the children know that.
“We maintain that approach because the children know they will be excluded. That is why they behave well in school. The exclusions are a group of difficult children.”
The figures also show that 261 exclusions were made at primary schools in The Gazette area during 2009-10.
Winklebury Junior School in Winklebury Way made a total of 32 exclusions – more than double the amount made by most other primary schools.
Christine Clayton, who was appointed headteacher of both the junior and infant school last September, said: “Exclusion, for me, is to be used as a last resort. I would hope to see lower figures this year.”
Only two pupils were permanently excluded from primary schools during the same academic year.