Record drink and drug school exclusions in Northumberland

School exclusions for drug and alcohol issues in Northumberland have hit a record high, new figures reveal.

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

Department for Education figures show schools in the county excluded students 70 times for drug and alcohol-related issues in 2018-19 – three permanently and 67 temporarily.

This was an increase on 36 the year before, and the highest since records began in 2006-07.

Of the exclusions, 69 were in secondary schools and one in a special school.

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

In Northumberland there was a total of 3,588 exclusions in 2018-19 - 19% down on the 4,405 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."