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Hundreds of schoolchildren expelled from schools

PUBLISHED: 14:56 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:28 07 September 2010

CHILDREN as young as six were excluded from west Haringey primary schools last year for assaulting an adult, while teenagers from across the area have been sent home from secondary schools for stealing. Freedom of Information (FOI) figures obtained by the

CHILDREN as young as six were excluded from west Haringey primary schools last year for assaulting an adult, while teenagers from across the area have been sent home from secondary schools for stealing.

Freedom of Information (FOI) figures obtained by the Broadway have revealed that 428 temporary exclusions were made from primary and secondary schools in the 2008/09 academic year in Highgate, Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Hornsey.

A further 15 pupils were permanently excluded from schools in the area. Five temporary exclusions of children as young as six were made for pupils who physically attacked an adult - three were from Highgate Primary School and two from Rhodes Avenue Primary School in Muswell Hill.

And 25 temporary exclusions were made from Alexandra Park School, Fortismere, Highgate Wood and Hornsey School for Girls for theft.

Mike McKenzie, the headteacher of Alexandra Park School, said: "Exclusions are one of a range of strategies we choose to use when a student's behaviour is not acceptable.

"Most exclusions are short, sharp, shocks which send a clear signal to the student. Many schools in Haringey have support units where children can be isolated from the main school body and so reduce their exclusion figures. We do not have such a resource.

"Our figures reflect the high standards and expectation we have of students at Alexandra Park School."

A total of 181 temporary exclusions were made from Alexandra Park School last year, including two for sexual misconduct and 15 for theft.

A further five pupils were permanently excluded from the comprehensive which has 1,172 students altogether.

A total of 14 temporary exclusions were enforced in primary schools in west Haringey last year.

One pupil aged eight was permanently excluded from Campsbourne School, Hornsey, last year for assaulting an adult.

Headteacher Angela Ryan said: "Last year was the first time I have ever excluded a pupil and it isn't something which happens lightly.

"I've been in the business for 20 years and I can honestly say I haven't seen an increase in bad behaviour.

"The behaviour of pupils at Campsbourne has really improved."

Rhodes Avenue headteacher, Christine Witham, said: "Some children may have more complex difficulties in mainstream education which could explain why they are excluded.

"We get a lot of support from parents and if there are any behavioural difficulties at the school teachers and parents work together so that issues can be resolved very speedily."

Cllr Lorna Reith, cabinet member for young people, defended the number of exclusions in the borough.

She said: "We are one of only 12 local authorities nationally to be awarded funding to further develop and disseminate its good practice beyond the borough.

"Both we and schools take exclusions very seriously. Permanent exclusions are only used as a last resort when the school has exhausted all resources and options available to them. We monitor exclusion figures closely to identify any trends and take steps to address them."

Nationally from 2007 to 2008 there were 324,180 fixed period exclusions and 8,310 permanent exclusions from UK schools. Boys accounted for 75 per cent of these and the figures show they are much more likely to be excluded at a younger age.

Figures have not yet been released for 2008/09.

On Wednesday schools secretary Ed Balls announced that badly behaved pupils would be pulled out of mainstream schools and forced into 'sin bin' education centres or taught separately, under a new national scheme.

Charlotte Newton - Charlotte.Newton@hamhigh.co.uk

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