New figures reveal children were excluded 126 times from Peterborough schools for breaching Covid-19 health rules

Action was taken to protect health of other pupils

Thursday, 4th August 2022, 3:44 pm

More than 100 exclusions of children from lessons were ordered by schools in Peterborough for repeatedly breaking Covid-19 health rules.

Deliberately coughing close to a classmate and refusing to abide by social distancing rules were among the reasons given for 126 exclusions at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The children were excluded only after persistently breaking rules that were designed to protect pupils from contracting the virus.

There have been 126 pupil exclusions from schools in Peterborough for repeated breaches of Covid-19 rules designed to protect children's health.

Figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) show during the 2020-21 academic year, which was the height of Covid-19 heath scare, show that two of the exclusions were permanent while the rest were temporary.

They show that 109 of the exclusions were in secondary schools, 13 in primary schools and four in special schools.

The figures only reveal the number of exclusions and not the number of children involved.

Across England, children were excluded 12,965 times.

The reasons given include non-compliance with social distancing, causing distress such as by purposefully coughing near others plus other deliberate breach of a school's public health measures.

Schools were able to list multiple reasons for each exclusion for the first time last year.

However, youngsters ignoring Covid-19 rules make up just a fraction of the number of children being excluded from schools in Peterborough.

The DfE figures also show that in Peterborough there were 2,048 exclusions for the academic year 2020/21 with 2,027 of these being temporary while 21 were permanent.

That was an increase on 1,684 exclusions in the previous year.

Figures for the most recent academic year include a period when Covid-19 restrictions meant that only key worker and vulnerable children were attending school in person.

Of the 16 reasons that can be used to justify a pupil’s exclusion, safeguarding public health was the sixth most frequent with persistent disruptive behaviour (30 per cent), physical assault against a pupil (21 per cent) and verbal abuse or threatening behaviour (17 per cent).

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said schools following guidance were sometimes forced to suspend students in cases of persistent rule breaking and unsafe behaviour.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said permanent exclusions were rare but necessary to manage behaviour but should not mean exclusion from education.

Read More

Read More
'Sobering' milestone as Peterborough records 500th COVID death