Primary age schoolchildren among Wakefield pupils excluded for racist abuse

Multiple schoolchildren in Wakefield, including primary age pupils, have been excluded for racist abuse.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 4:45 pm

Data revealed by the local council showed that students were sent home from school for a combined total of 17-and-a-half weeks between September 2019 and July 2020.

It's not clear exactly how many children were excluded over the year, but pupils who are temporarily suspended from school can be excluded for up to weeks at a time.

No child was permanently expelled for racist abuse, according to the data, which was presented to Wakefield's children and young people scrutiny panel on Thursday.

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The overall number of pupils being excluded from schools in Wakefield fell during the last academic year, though that's been attributed to the pandemic.

The panel was told that work takes place in all local schools to educate children about racism and bullying.

But racial equality charity the Runnymede Trust said the figures were concerning and suggested that more needed to be done at a national level to address the problem.

Policy officer Alba Kapoor said: "These statistics are shocking, but depressingly they reflect the national picture.

"It cannot be right that almost half of English schools have no black or minority ethnic (BAME) teachers at all, despite ethnic minority students making up a quarter of students.

Racial equality charity the Runnymede Trust said schools should adopt pro-active anti-racist policies and recruit more BAME teachers.

“It is time for the government to take urgent action to increase the proportion of black and minority ethnic teachers in schools. Schools need clear anti-racist policies, as well as a commitment to diversify the curriculum."

A total of 66 days of school were lost by secondary pupils who'd been excluded for racist abuse in Wakefield.

The remaining 21.5 days were attributed to students from primary school, special school or the local pupil referral unit, where children without a full-time school are educated.

While the overall number of pupils being excluded and expelled from Wakefield schools for all kinds of reasons fell last year, schools were only open to the children of key workers from March onwards.

In previous years, exclusions have risen sharply, leading to suggestions that some head teachers are deliberately off-rolling pupils in a bid to boost exam results.

Speaking about the figures overall, council officer Abigail Mulligan told the committee: "We were aware halfway through the spring term that we were probably on course for the same number, or more permanent exclusions (compared to the previous year), if it wasn't for other things happening nationally.

"That puts the figures into context."

Number of pupils expelled by secondary schools in 2019/20 (all reasons)

Airedale Academy - 10

Carleton High School - 10

Castleford Academy - 2

The Cathedral School - 8

Cherry Tree Academy - 2

Crofton High School - 4

De Lacy Academy - 14

Featherstone Academy - 4

Horbury Academy - 4

Kettlethorpe High School - 4

King's School - 6

Minsthorpe Academy - 12

Ossett Academy - 6

Outwood Academy City Fields - 12

Outwood Academy Freeston - 2

Outwood Academy Hemsworth - 12

Outwood Grange Academy - 10

St Thomas a Becket Catholic High - 2

St Wilfrid's RC High - 2

Simpsons Lane Academy - 6

Local Democracy Reporting Service