Drink and drug school exclusions rise Sunderland

School exclusions for drug and alcohol issues in Sunderland are running at almost one a week, new figures reveal.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 2:43 pm
Action call over school exclusions.

Department for Education figures show schools in the city excluded students 50 times for drug and alcohol-related issues in 2018-19 – 11 permanently and 39 temporarily.

This was an increase on 33 the year before, and the highest since records began in 2006-07.

All of the exclusions were in secondary schools.

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They were among a record 12,180 drug and alcohol-related exclusions in England – an increase of 17% on the year before.

In Sunderland there was a total of 2,811 exclusions in 2018-19 - 27% down on the 3,843 the year before.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics said the statistics were "worrying", and unless the underlying causes were addressed the number excluded may continue to rise.

Dr Piers Henriques, head of communications at the charity, said: "So often, for young people, substance misuse occurs as a coping mechanism for wider challenges, such as mental health problems or family discord.

"School exclusion will be justified in individual cases but we need better, earlier interventions that seek to support rather than bluntly punish these young people."

Nationally, the total number of exclusion increased between 2017-18 and 2018-19, from 419,000 to 446,000.

A DfE spokesman said: “We are clear that expulsion should only be used as a last resort, and should not mean exclusion from quality education or support.

“We will always back headteachers to use expulsion when required as part of creating calm and disciplined classrooms."