Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

City school exclusions fall 25%

Glasgow claims its scheme has had dramatic results

The number of young people excluded from school has fallen by 25% in Glasgow, the city council has said.

The local authority said the drop was largely due to intense work with troubled or troublesome children.

The council has set up learning centres offering support from teachers, psychologists and arts and sports instructors.

Suspensions and permanent exclusions are reported to have fallen by a quarter to 1,500 per year.

Learning centres are based away from mainstream schools and work intensively with children, young people and their families to improve behaviour and educational attainment.

Councillors plan to expand the service across the city.

Maureen Blee is the deputy head of Ladywell school, one of the support centres.

The teacher says I have stopped carrying on in class and running around and under tables and shouting and speaking when she's talking
Darren Keane, 11

She said it was not just a dumping ground for children that other teachers could not cope with.

"It's not a sin bin and we're very anxious that it's not seen as a sin bin," she said.

"The children that we work with are children that the secondary schools want to work with too and the schools have a big part in maintaining them."

Two pupils who say they have been helped by the scheme are 14-year-old Jason Docherty and 11-year-old Darren Keane.

Jason told BBC Radio Scotland: "My maths teacher and my English teacher say they hardly recognise me because I'm usually quiet but before I came here I was shouting out and being cheeky and that."

Darren added: "The teacher says I have stopped carrying on in class and running around and under tables and shouting and speaking when she's talking."

Exclusion incidents

The number of exclusion incidents in Glasgow secondary schools fell by 24.9% in the first four months of the current school year.

Between August and November 2007, there were 2,014 such incidents. Last year, the figure had fallen to 1,512 over the same period.

This latest reduction follows the overall drop of 15% in exclusion incidents registered by Glasgow secondaries between 2006/07 and 2007/08.

The latest improvements have not been restricted to the secondary sector.

Young people, schools and society as a whole benefit if we work with young people and their families to solve the problems
Gordon Matheson
Executive member for education

Exclusion incidents in primary schools fell by 16% between August and November 2008 compared to the previous year, down from 269 to 226.

There was also a 14.6% drop in such incidents in additional support for learning (ASL) schools over the same period , from 89 to 76.

Bailie Gordon Matheson, executive member for education and social renewal, welcomed the new statistics.

He said: "I congratulate Glasgow teachers who have been working exceptionally hard to reduce exclusions.

"We will continue to exclude children and young people if necessary to protect other pupils and staff, but young people, schools and society as a whole benefit if we work with young people and their families, and other agencies as appropriate, to solve the problems which lead to bad behaviour in the classroom."

The council plans to develop a further four secondary and four early years/primary learning centres over the next few years, taking the total to 10 in the city.

Glasgow has also introduced nurture classes at the beginning of primary schools, which provide intensive social, educational and emotional support to small groups of children, and their families, who may be struggling at home and within the classroom.

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