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Head defends school's record on exclusions
A Worcester academy has defended its exclusion policy after figures showed it had expelled the second highest number of children from any academy in England.
Tudor Grange Academy permanently excluded 15 pupils (or 2.27 per cent of its pupils) in the academic year 2009/10 – the year the academy started.
It means the Bilford Road academy was responsible for removing a third of all the pupils expelled that year from Worcestershire’s secondary schools.
However, school principal Claire Maclean said it was a necessary move after the academy took over from the ailing Elgar Technology College in 2009.
She said: “We never take recourse to a permanent exclusion unless we have come to the end of the road or there has been a very serious incident from which there is no return.
“Unfortunately that was what we faced in the first two years.
“Mark one academies (sponsored) were schools in serious difficulties and that’s what we were dealing with.”
Mrs Maclean said the exclusions were often down to “extreme behaviour.” She also said the local authority had reintroduced 33 children to the school who had previously left Elgar, which was not helpful.
Department for Education figures show the total number of secondary school pupils permanently excluded in Worcestershire for the same academic year – the latest figures available – was 44 or 0.12 per cent of the school population.
Across the county, the majority of pupils were expelled for persistent disruptive behaviour.
There were 14 expelled for physical assaults on other pupils and five expelled for physical assaults on adults.
Unspecified numbers (but less than three) were recorded for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour towards other pupils, verbal abuse towards adults and for drugs or alcohol.
No pupils were excluded in the county for bullying, racist abuse, sexual misconduct, damage or theft.
Mrs Maclean refused to give excluded figures for 2010/11 but said they were also high although only two pupils had been expelled so far this academic year, since September.
However, she denied that the school had tried to improve its results by expelling difficult children.
She said: “The way in which we’ve transformed this school is by focusing on teaching and learning and improving what happens in the classroom.”
She also defended the school’s high level of fixed term exclusions saying the school had a zero tolerance approach to bad behaviour. She said: “We are looking to bringing it down and it is coming down but we won’t focus on just bringing the figures down by lowering our standards.”
The DfE does not publish school-by-school exclusion figures but numbers for Tudor Grange were obtained after a freedom of information request by the Anti Academies Alliance.
Other Worcestershire schools subsequently provided figures voluntarily to your Worcester News.
There were also seven permanent exclusions in the county’s primary schools. There were none in its special schools.
There were also 3,250 (or 4.26 per cent of the schools population) fixed period exclusions for primary, secondary and special schools of which 2,603 were at secondary schools.