Agenda item

Update on Behaviour Management and Exclusion Policies within the Borough

To receive an update on Behaviour management and Exclusion Policies within the Borough

 

Minutes:

The sub-committee received a report from officers in School Improvement which updated Members on the most recent information, patterns and trends in behaviour and exclusions of pupils.

 

Members were informed that the Keeping Children in School agenda had remained a focus for headteachers, school staff and local authority colleagues working with children and families.  The number of fixed-term and permanent exclusions, including Looked After Children (LAC) and those with a special educational need or disability (SEND) continued to be well below the national average.  It was noted that through the introduction of a graduated response, schools and settings have been supported to follow a common framework which provided appropriately staged support to pupils’ individual needs.

 

The rate of fixed term exclusions in the most recent published data (2017-2018) were consistently better than the national average across all phases of education.  In the primary phase the North East had a lower rate of fixed term exclusions than the national average and North Tyneside remained in the lowest 20% of local authorities for fixed term exclusions in primary schools.  In the secondary phase of education, the rate of fixed term exclusions continued to increase nationally.  The North East had shown the largest increase in fixed term exclusions by a region in the space of a year.  However, North Tyneside’s fixed term exclusion rate had decreased from the previous year and remained in the lowest 20% of local authorities.

 

It was explained that the rates of fixed term exclusions in special schools were falling, both nationally and in the North East.  Rates in North Tyneside however, continued to rise for the third year and across local authority performance was in the second quintile.  Provisional information for 2018-19 suggested that this trend had now been reversed.  There were no permanent exclusions from special schools in the borough during 2017/18 and there had not been one since 2006.

 

The report highlighted that rates of permanent exclusions in primary schools were very low, 0.03%.  During 2017/18 North Tyneside had two permanent exclusions from primary schools, which placed the local authority among the second quintile of local authorities nationally.  In the secondary phase of education, rates of permanent exclusion had levelled off after four years of increase.  Rates in the North East continued to rise and at an accelerating rate.  North Tyneside’s rate of permanent exclusion had increased from 2016/17 to 2017/18 but remained in the lowest 20% of local authorities for permanent exclusions.

 

The report detailed, on the basis of provisional information, the reasons for permanent exclusion during 2018-19.  These included physical assault against a pupil; physical assault against an adult; persistent disruptive behaviour; drug and alcohol; and verbal abuse against an adult.  When looking at schools by deprivation measures, it was noted that schools serving pupils from the 10% most deprived areas have an average fixed term exclusion rate of 16%, compared to 6% for the 10% least deprived areas.

 

In relation to prevention measures, there were two Going the Extra Mile conferences that were well attended in 2018.  Best practice from advisers and schools included the widely adopted THRIVE approach to de-escalation, using sport to raise self-esteem, resilience for teachers and self-regulation methods for children in the early years.  The Early Years and School Improvement Service had led the development of best practice guides to support schools to develop effective behaviour policies and pupils’ social and emotional mental health.  The Education Psychology Service had led the training and accreditation of nationally recognised THRIVE practitioners in many North Tyneside school.  The THRIVE approach was research based and provided a powerful way of working that supported children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

 

Members of the sub-committee commented that reports on exclusions never addressed potential victims and the support that they received.  Members highlighted the balance between working with a disruptive child to improve behaviour and the right of other pupils to have an undisrupted education.  Officers explained that the purpose of the brief had been to focus on exclusions, but that further information in relation to support for victims could be presented at a future meeting.  It was noted that all schools have bespoke behaviour and anti-bullying policies to protect students and that restorative work around reconciliation would take place.  In determining whether an exclusion would be an appropriate measure, Head teachers must consider the safety off other students in the school.

 

In relation to exclusions in primary schools, a member of the sub-committee suggested that issues could have related to undiagnosed problems and asked what support was in place to identify educational or behavioural support needs.   The support available was graduated, with needs initially identified and resourced within school.  If this did not meet needs, a referral for further support would then be made to the school support team.  The aim was to ensure that anybody with additional needs was identified by Year 4. 

 

The Chair thanked the officers for the report and for the work that they undertook.  It was noted that a reason why exclusions in North Tyneside were comparatively low to the national picture was the positive working relationships between schools in the borough and the local authority.

 

It was agreed to note the contents of the report.

 

 

 

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