Schools in the UK may be excluding ‘problem’ children illegally. A report by the Children’s Commissioner for England has suggested that several hundred schools in England may be excluding children illegally, affecting thousands of children every year.
The research also found that 88 per cent of young men aged 15-18 in Young Offenders’ Institutions (YOIs) have been excluded from school at some point and 72 per cent have truanted.
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has highlighted the negative impact educational failure has on children and society. In a statement, it pointed out that, in 2012, 31 per cent of all pupils failed to achieve the standard GCSE baseline of five A* to C grades including English and mathematics.
The CSJ also claims that YOIs in England are failing to provide the most basic education. According to its data, just one in nine state-run YOIs is delivering the minimum requirement of 15 hours of education to each teenager a week.
In its response to the Government’s recent consultation on the possible introduction of Secure Colleges, the CSJ said it was ‘highly critical’ of the current system, ‘which fails to provide even the basic schooling’.
Under a Freedom of Information Act request from the CSJ, the Government revealed that the number of hours of education has dropped 15 per cent over two years, to an average of just 11 hours a week for 2011-12.
Edward Boyd, CSJ deputy policy director, said, ‘The youth justice system is being treated as a dumping ground for youngsters that no one knows how to help. Education is one of the best ways to reduce reoffending, but YOIs are failing to do this’.
He said the lobby group’s consultation response criticises the lack of focus on learning and urges the Government to overhaul the current system and introduce Secure Colleges, which would put education at the heart of detention.
Mr Boyd added: ‘Our youth justice system is in crisis, with more than 70 per cent going on to reoffend within 12 months of release’. He said better education could reduce this significantly.