England Anticipates Record High School Suspensions

England Anticipates Record High School Suspensions
"Credit: ITV"

London (Parliament News) – England faces a surge in-school suspensions, with over 264,000 recorded in spring 2022/2023, signalling ongoing disciplinary challenges, largely attributed to persistent disruptive behaviour.

The UK is on course for the most increased number of school suspensions in a single year, figures reveal. According to data from the Department for Education (DfE), there were almost 264,000 suspensions in spring 2022/2023 – the most extensive number on record for one term.

According to BBC, persistent disruptive manners are the most common cause for children being suspended, or banned, from school.

How have suspensions changed since pre-pandemic times?

Teaching unions state schools do not have sufficient resources to support pupils. Figures show suspensions have increased by almost three-quarters compared with spring 2019 – before the Covid pandemic.

The previous loftiest total of suspensions in a single year was in 2021/2022 with 578,280.

According to the latest data known, there were 511,270 suspensions for the autumn and spring terms alone in 2022/2023.

If numbers persist on the same trajectory for the summer term, schools in England will witness a record number of suspensions over this academic year. On exclusions, figures indicate there were 3,039 permanent exclusions in the spring term last year – an upsurge of more than a third (39%) in the same period the year before.

What challenges do schools face in discipline?

The Association of School and College Leaders states the data reflects what they are hearing from school leaders.

“There is a really difficult situation with challenging behaviour among some pupils,” stated Pepe Di’Iasio, the General Secretary. “There are several reasons for this – mental health issues, unmet special educational needs, disengagement with the curriculum, and, in some cases, wider problems within families. This means that behavioural issues often escalate to a point at which a suspension – or exclusion – is the only option that is left.”

A survey conducted by the BBC found nearly one in five teachers have been struck by a pupil this year, with some describing the situation with behaviour as a “never-ending battle”.

The Department for Education states it has invested £10m in behaviour hubs, a scheme where schools work together offering mentoring and support to those who are struggling with difficult behaviour.

How are teaching unions responding to the situation?

Another teaching union declares the figures are a real cause for concern and that “inadequate government funding” has led to a reduction in pastoral care and teaching assistants.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary at the National Association of Head Teachers stated: “Early intervention is often crucial – government funding cuts to services that support schools have made it harder for children and families to access help from mental health services and social care amid long waiting lists and higher thresholds.”

What regional differences exist in suspension rates?

The North East had the highest pace of suspensions and exclusions, while inner and outer London recorded the lowest. The Department for Education expresses it backs head teachers to employ exclusions where required. A spokesperson stated: “We are providing targeted support to schools to help improve behaviour, attendance and reduce the risk of exclusions with an investment of £10m in our Behaviour Hubs programme, and our mental health teams who will reach at least 50% of pupils by 2025.”

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the Il24.it circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.