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Sussex pupils 'play up to get suspension holiday'
Pupils are deliberately behaving badly so that they will be excluded from class and have a “holiday” from school.
Youngsters at schools in East Sussex, which permanently excluded 109 children between September 2010 and July 2011, are believed to be acting up so that they can have time off.
Now a number of schools in East Sussex are taking part in a trial which means that if they exclude more than their “agreed limit” of pupils, they could face heavy financial penalties.
This can be up to £16,000 per pupil.
The report said if this trial – which started in April – was judged successful then it could be introduced countywide in a bid to cut the number of children being excluded.
It said it was hoped that this would encourage East Sussex schools to “manage less serious behavioural problems within the school” and therefore reduce the numbers of pupils that had been excluded.
The matters were referred to in a scrutiny report of school exclusions during an East Sussex County Council cabinet meeting yesterday.
Take responsibility The report, by councillors Martin Kenward and Michael Ensor, said: “For exclusions to be effective, a sanction needs to be unwanted.
“However, anecdotal evidence suggests that some children see a period of exclusion as a welcome ‘holiday’, and actively behave in a manner to bring about their exclusion.”
The report said that schools had to “take responsibility for retaining and managing the problems of behaviour and exclusion themselves”.
The council said it was particularly concerned about the levels of exclusions from primary schools, the number of children with special educational needs being excluded from school and the number of fixed term exclusions at secondary schools.
David Elkin, the council’s lead member for children’s and adults’ services, said: “Our behaviour and attendance team continues to work with schools to address levels of exclusions and to look at new ways of supporting them in responding to challenging behaviour. We need to understand why we still have high levels of exclusion and we need to learn from the schools that are not excluding pupils.
“Excluding pupils does not solve the problem of bad behaviour – it just moves it somewhere else. However, we must be very clear that this is about finding more solutions within schools, not in any way tolerating bad behaviour or disruption in the classroom.”