Teachers protest over penalty for expelling pupils

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Teachers have reacted angrily to the decision that schools will be penalised for expelling pupils in next week's exam league tables.

Teachers have reacted angrily to the decision that schools will be penalised for expelling pupils in next week's exam league tables.

And with schools being rewarded for taking in previously expelled pupils, teachers said the move was an example of "the corrupting influence of league tables".

Ministers recently gave heads more freedom to expel pupils after teachers protested that new exclusion rules prevented them from disciplining disruptive students.

Last week, John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, wrote to David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, to point out that the secondary school league table penalties were in direct conflict with the relaxation of the exclusion rules.

The tables are based on the percentage of pupils getting five good GCSE grades. Under the new arrangements, schools that have expelled pupils in the past two years will still have to count them in their tallies, and so reduce their score.

Schools that accept the expelled pupils will be doubly rewarded because the latter will not be included in the number taking GCSE. However, their exam achievements will.

A senior civil servant said 1,546 schools who between them had expelled 3,006 pupils had had their total number of pupils adjusted upwards. "That's a penalty because they have permanently excluded people." Equally, 306 had their numbers adjusted down because they had agreed to admit expelled pupils.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "The Government decided that this should happen because it is not in the interests of children to be excluded just before they take their exams."

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "This is an example of the corrupting influence of league tables. It is outrageous that these extraneous considerations should be brought into decisions about whether kids should be excluded or not."

He thought schools would prefer to slip down the league tables rather than live with very unruly pupils. "They have to protect themselves simply in terms of the physical safety of staff and pupils."

Government performance tables for all secondary schools and colleges will be published in 'The Independent' next Thursday.

Comments