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Pupil exclusions at Falmouth and Penryn schools risen by a third

By West Briton  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

By Ginette Davies

Classroom

Pupil exclusions at Falmouth and Penryn schools risen by a third

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EXCLUSIONS from schools in the Falmouth and Penryn area for bad behaviour have gone up by nearly half.

Figures released to the West Briton under the Freedom of Information Act show 133 fixed-term exclusions in 2010-11. This is a rise of 43 since 2008 for offences from swearing to assaults.

Exclusions for physical assaults of pupils in primary schools went from 9 to 16, verbal assaults of adults in primaries from 2 to 9, and in secondary schools from 15 to 28.

However, physical assaults against adults dropped in secondary schools from 14 to 5.

But head teachers said the figures reflected work being done to improve behaviour.

Marie Hunter, at Penryn College, said: "We have had a real focus over the last two years on raising the bar in terms of acceptable behaviour.

"There has been a national increase in children pushing the boundaries."

Sandra Critchley, at Falmouth School, called the figures "low" in relation to the pupil population, adding: "This year we have developed a system to identify certain things that are unacceptable. Some young people don't even know what words are swearwords and we have made it clear which are totally unacceptable.

"(Exclusion) is short and sharp. We have a conversation with parents and children and move on.

"We show what the consequences are and give people a degree of chances to correct their behaviour."

All the schools spoken to said exclusions were usually one or two days, and often internal – the child remains in school, isolated from others.

Robin Cowen, at Penryn Junior School, said: "We use exclusions when all other school strategies are not having the required impact.

"Internal exclusions are proving more effective, as the child has a day of work rather than being able to return from home boasting of having a day off."

There have been no permanent exclusions.

Richard Gambier, from Marlborough School, said: "I think in nearly all schools the use of exclusion is always taken as a last step, as sparingly as possible.

"We've had to resort to exclusion less in recent times rather than more.

"Just as they need to be allowed to make mistakes in the classroom, it must be understood that children will make mistakes at play or in friendships in other areas of school life."

Claire Smith, head at Falmouth primary, said: "We have greatly reduced the number of exclusions."

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