Dear Editor, I would like to take the opportunity to set the record straight in relation to your article School Chiefs Criticised over Exclusion Figures (Birmingham Post, August 5).
The article appears to suggest Birmingham City Council has attempted to hide an increase in fixed term exclusions by highlighting a dramatic drop in permanent exclusions.
This is not true. Despite what newspapers sometimes appear to believe, good news is news too, and we make no apology for highlighting it.
A 46 per cent drop in permanent exclusions in Birmingham is something your readers would be interested in. It is testimony to the enormous amount of work that is being done in schools through behaviour support partnerships.
In relation to the rise in temporary exclusions which you have highlighted, schools are increasingly focusing on shorter temporary exclusions so children are not out of school as long.
This naturally has led to an increase in number, but a reduction in the impact to a child’s education.
The actual number of days lost to temporary exclusions between 2005/06 and 2007/08 has gone down by 10.92 per cent.
The whole point of a temporary exclusion is to rein in bad behaviour and avoid the need for the far greater disruption and stigma caused by a permanent exclusion.
We make no apology for doing all we can to keep pupils in school.
The rise is partly due to the introduction of a new computerised system making recording more accurate.
Whereas before we relied on schools having to post in the information on exclusions – something many were too busy to do – since 2006 it has been done electronically.
As a result of more schools submitting data, the figure has gone up.
Finally, the figures you quoted should be taken into context.
More than 166,000 pupils attended Birmingham schools for the 2007/08 academic year.
The number of days lost through temporary exclusions only accounts for 0.09 per cent of the total of days attended.
CHRISSIE GARRETT, Director Integrated Services
Birmingham City Council