November 19, 2016: More than 40 children are waiting to get admission in the SSSfN (Short Stay School for Norfolk). SSSfN gives admission to students who are expelled from the mainstream schools of the city. SSSfN has many sites across the city including Douglas Bader School.
According to the Department for Education, Norfolk’s schools exclude more children proportionally than any other city in Eastern England. The exclusion rate, at the primary level, is double than Suffolk’s.
The number has doubled since last month. People of the city are outraged as students have been sitting at home since weeks. This has seriously affected the mental health of the students, mentioned edp24.co.uk.
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The SSSfN is now operating on the policy “one in, one out”. The number of pupils, who are permanently expelled, has increased from 195 to 284 since last year. All the seats of SSSfN are full.
According to edp24.co.uk, it is the legal duty of the Norfolk County Council to find a school for all children. North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has filed a motion to debate, in the House of Commons, for school exclusions. With the increasing number of exclusions, the council needs to work on finding school spaces for children.
Norman questioned the council on their responsibilities towards children’s education. He told Eastern Daily Press, “The numbers of excluded children in Norfolk is a failure of the system. The dramatic increase causes me massive concern. Many schools avoid exclusion while some other schools exclude far too often.”
He added, “We are massively letting them and their families down, but we are also storing up trouble for the future by failing in our legal duty to provide them with an education.”
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According to EDP, whatever these students do to receive expulsion, they don’t deserve this abandonment. The number of expelled students is continuously rising. Sitting at home is the worst place for the children.
Executive Head of SSSfN, Des Reynolds, said that the only way to tackle this problem is stopping the mainstream schools from excluding so many students.
North Walsham High, Norfolk has significantly less number of students sent to SSSfN. The Head teacher, Neil Powell, believes that students should be excluded only for serious red line issues like drugs, or weapon offences, rather than their behavior issues.
The Eastern Daily Press spoke to a mother of a child, who was excluded, on the condition of anonymity. She said that, “After the stress of our child being permanently excluded from school we thought we would get help from Norfolk County Council, but there was no help given. It has been and still is a frustrating time for all the family.”
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Until the matter is resolved, the Local authority have arranged for a private tutor for two hours a day. But this is not enough. The students’ health is worsening and they feel bewildered.
Councillors of the North County Council have set up a Task and Finish group to investigate the exclusions and the issues with the Short stay as well as the mainstream schools of the county.
A Spokesperson of the Council told Eastern Daily Press, “There is constant turnover of pupils at the SSSfN, as we reintegrate young people back into mainstream schools once they are ready, but this term we are continuing to fully use all our commissioned places at the school. Our officers are working with school leaders to understand the reasons why the level of exclusions is increasing in Norfolk, as it is nationally.”
– Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53