A new strategy to tackle the rising rate of permanent exclusions in Lincolnshire’s schools has seen the number in primary schools drop by half to 24.
However The Inclusive Lincolnshire Strategy – which was introduced to address the problem of a rising and unsustainable rate of permanent exclusions form Lincolnshire schools – has not been so successful in secondary schools.
There had been a reduction the year after the strategy was launched, but the figures this year were 118, compared to 103 in the previous year.
Lincolnshire has consistently been the highest excluder of primary aged children nationally and nearly the highest for secondary.
At a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, a report from Mary Meredith, Children’s Service Manager (Inclusion), said the strategy introduced the notion of a “Ladder of Intervention” which was launched in January 2015/16.
The committee also noted that in September 2016/17 a step within the Ladder – specialist behaviour support for pupils at risk – had gone live through the launch of the Behaviour Outreach Support Service (BOSS). Now, at the end of the full academic year it was possible to evaluate the impact of the Ladder.
The provisional exclusion figures up to and including term six for both primary and secondary schools were:
l 2014/15 – 210
l 2015/16 – 155
l 2016/17 – 145
A key priority for 2017/18 is to support the five vulnerable secondary schools that accounted for the disproportionate number of secondary exclusions.
One committee member asked what could be done to challenge schools who were high excluders. Officers explained that culture was not something that could be changed overnight, and that a change in a headteacher position could sometimes be a catalyst for exclusions.
The committee noted that headteachers are in a challenging position, as their success is dependent on results which linked to OFSTED judgement.
It was also raised that school governors should be made aware of the consequences of excluding. One member highlighted that in some instances where a pupil had been permanently excluded, and alternative arrangements had been put in place the pupil had gone on to do very well.
It was agreed that an update on the progress of the Inclusive Lincolnshire Strategy be received by the committee in six months’ time.