Primary school exclusions reduced across Oxfordshire

image captionThe council says better teacher training has helped reduce exclusions

The number of children excluded from primary schools in Oxfordshire has more than halved in the past three years, according to figures obtained by the BBC.

In 2007 to 2008 a total of 227 youngsters were suspended or expelled.

But figures obtained by a Freedom of Information Request show that in 2009 to 2010 the number had dropped to 89.

The county council said it was down to better training for teachers in dealing with challenging children.

Iain Watson, Area Service Manager, Inclusion, Access and Engagement for Oxfordshire County Council said: "I think schools have almost got it right, they're so much more improved in terms of their practice and training for teachers.

"The best place for a child is in a mainstream school and it's about providing support within the school rather than looking outside.

"Schools have been governed themselves in that they're responsible for the children they have through the door, they're responsible for their outcomes and I think that's a really good thing.

Gill Hudson, head teacher of Pegasus School in Oxford, joined the school 11 years ago when it was in special measures and behaviour was an issue.

She said: "I think schools are getting better at dealing with the emotional aspects of learning, of children and their development and they're helping children develop skills to manage their own behaviour and their relationships in a more positive way.

"Excluding children does seem daft because they have a day at home perhaps on PlayStations or on their bikes, and you have to think what will the child learn from that?"

A report by Ofsted inspectors in June last year said that schools could avoid excluding very young children through techniques to manage behaviour.

It said a school's philosophy, a supportive and stable environment and strong relationships with parents were important factors in preventing exclusions.

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