York & North Yorkshire

Risedale Sports and Community College stops exclusions

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Media captionRisedale Sports and Community College hasn't excluded any pupils for more than six months

A secondary school head teacher has stopped exclusions saying he does not want to give up on pupils, despite its performance falling as a result.

Risedale Sports and Community College, in Catterick, North Yorkshire, gave out 85 fixed-term exclusions in 2015-16 but none so far this academic year.

Head Colin Scott, who took up the role in 2017, said he wanted to increase attendance and "work on the kids".

But he admitted keeping some pupils had caused performance figures to "drop".

"It is our view that if we are going to help support these kids, we can't give up on them," Mr Scott said.

"They might give up on themselves but we don't give up on them."

Image caption Mr Scott said he would prefer to keep pupils in school and work on their behaviour than expel them

Exclusions: The Bigger Picture

In 2016-17 there were 7,720 permanent exclusions at schools in England, a rise of 67% since 2012-13.

In 2016-17 there were 381,865 fixed-term exclusions at schools in England, a rise of 43% since 2012-13.

A fixed-term exclusion can be anything from part of a day to a maximum of 45 days within a single academic year.

The increase in exclusions has prompted Ofsted to write to head teachers urging them to do more for troubled students.

Image caption Risedale Sports and Community College, in Catterick, has 512 pupils aged 11-16 years

The school is in a military town three miles south of Richmond and has one of the largest proportions of service children (50%) of any secondary school in the UK.

It currently has 512 students aged 11-16 years.

A school's performance is measured through pupils' progress, called Progress 8, via a scoring system of between -1 and 1, with the average being 0.

A score lower than 0 is recognised as not achieving the minimum standard expected by the government, with -1 being well below average.

Mr Scott, himself an Ofsted inspector and former police special constable, said keeping some children in school, who otherwise would have been excluded, had "caused a 0.2 drop in our P8 figure" despite some pupils "only being with us a matter of months".

"What we have been able to do is to support the management of behaviour better, keep kids in school more, and work on the kids while we've got them in school to help support their behaviours,"

Image caption A "new system of behaviour management" has been instigated by Mr Scott

At Risedale, pupils who may previously have been excluded can be moved from their usual class to another for a day, or go to a room to work on their own.

Gary Morley, attendance and family support officer at the school, said teachers, students and parents all seemed to be happy with the way behaviour was now dealt with.

"Over the past two years it has been a lot calmer - the head teacher and the school have a new system of behaviour management that has made things very calm throughout the school.

"It works well. Everybody seems to know where they're going and what they're doing."

Image caption The school has not excluded any pupils yet in this academic year

Children's Commissioner for England Anne Longfield said there were some schools that were "keener on excluding children" to attain better performance levels.

"Recent figures we've produced show 88% of exclusions take part in just 10% of schools".

"Those schools that are chasing the academic grades are much more likely to want to have those children off site and off their books."

She said she wanted schools to provide more support to children at risk of exclusion and to "keep them in school".

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