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Alcohol and drug-related exclusions in schools almost double

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THE number of children excluded for drug and alcohol-related issues has risen dramatically.

Brighton and Hove City Council have recognised “there are particular issues around drug and alcohol related exclusions” after 114 children were excluded in the academic year 2017-18 – the most recent figures.

This was up from 63 the previous year.

A council spokesman said: “Where there are particular issues around drug and alcohol related exclusions, specialist services work with parents, schools and pupils to ensure that appropriate support is offered.”

Though the total number of exclusions dropped, the number of exclusions “due to physical assault against a pupil” was another category to see an increase, jumping from 256 in 2016-17 to 268 the following year.

Schools in the city also saw a rise in the total number of exclusions for “physical assault against a pupil or an adult, and drug and alcohol-related issues, with the number increasing from 468 to 516.

Chris Keates, acting general secretary of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said: “Pupil indiscipline is now one of the main reasons given by teachers for considering leaving the profession, making it a key contributory factor to the national crisis in teacher supply.

“It is common for people to assume that behaviour problems are confined to secondary schools, but in fact, that has never been the case.

“Primary school teachers also face equally challenging and serious pupil indiscipline, but they are often discouraged from raising the issues and led to believe it will reflect negatively on them because of the age of pupils.

“For too long, too many teachers have suffered in silence.

“The NASUWT has gathered evidence on the extent of the verbal and physical abuse being faced by teachers, some of whom report abuse occurring daily.

“Their physical and mental health is being affected by the failure of too many employers to support them in tackling these issues.

“No teacher should have to go to work with the expectation that they will be abused.”

But the “total number of exclusions due to physical assault against an adult” lowered from 149 to 134 during the year.

This contributed to the “total number of fixed and permanent exclusions in the area” falling to 1,696, from 1,786 the year before.

A council spokesman said: “The rate of fixed-term exclusions in the city has shown a steady decrease over the last three years, and is likely to be below national levels when new data is released in the summer.

“This is due to the hard work of teaching staff, and the council’s promotion of good attendance and an inclusive ethos.

“Permanent exclusion rates in the city are among the lowest in the country. This reflects the importance schools and the council place on ensuring all children have the opportunity to succeed.”

The Department for Education said: “While fixed-period exclusion rates have risen, permanent exclusion rates have remained stable, and they are both lower than they were a decade ago.”

He continued: “Permanent exclusion remains a rare event.”

“The Government supports headteachers in using exclusion as a sanction where warranted.

“That means backing heads to use their powers to issue fixed-period exclusions in response to poor behaviour, and to permanently exclude, as a last resort.

“Where pupils are excluded, the quality of education they receive should be no different than mainstream settings, and we are taking a range of actions to make sure that is the case.”

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Education

Brighton music education project awarded £15k to support young people

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A MUSIC education project for disadvantaged children has received a grant of £15,000.

Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival’s music education service, which is led by Brighton and Hove Music and Arts (BHMA) received funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to support children who do not have access to making music.

The SoundCity Young Musicians Bursary Scheme provides high quality, free or low-cost music education and performance opportunities for young people aged between five and 19 who are in care, or whose families are on low incomes.

The grant is one of 16 awarded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to projects which increase diversity in the arts.

Peter Chivers, director of BHMA, said: “This grant will enable us to continue providing high quality and inclusive music education and performance opportunities for children and young people across the city, who want to create music but might not have access because of social or financial constraints.

“We want to give children the chance to grow their creative talent regardless of their background and ability.”

Each year, 37,000 people benefit from BHMA’s creative learning opportunities, open days and music service in the city.

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Education

Ten-year-old trombonist excited to join national orchestra

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A YOUNG trombonist has been invited to join the National Children’s Orchestra.

Ten-year-old Daisy Hogan was inspired to take up the instrument four years ago after hearing a fellow student at Burgess Hill Girls School play the Looney Tunes theme on a red plastic trombone.

Now Daisy has successfully auditioned to play in the under-tens group in the National Children’s Orchestra (NCO). Throughout the year she will be able to play in regional rehearsals and attend a residential camp, where she will perform with the NCO in concert.

Her mother Rachael Hogan said: “We are so proud of Daisy’s achievement.

“She loves making music but also works very hard at it, so this has shown her that the time she has spent practising has really paid off. We are also very grateful to Burgess Hill Girls for enabling her to experience different instruments and receive first rate tuition from the amazing peripatetic music teachers.”

Daisy said: “I’m really excited to be playing in the NCO. I’m most looking forward to making new friends and playing lots of different types of music on our residential camp.”

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Education

Young Hove gymnasts win regional champion titles

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GYMNASTS have walked away from a competition with six regional champion titles.

Members of Dyson Gymnastics Club in Hove competed against ten other clubs at the annual South East Regional Tumble Championships in Kent.

The competition saw more than 235 gymnasts vying for the title of regional champion.

Seventeen gymnasts from the Hove club took part in the competition.

Eight members returned with a medal, with six gymnasts winning a gold in their category and gaining the title of regional champion.

Gold medallists were Cai Salmons, Indiana Sneath, Libby Perry, Sunny Kohler, Bethan Salmons and Theo Reason.

Flair Englishby was awarded a silver medal and Betty Geary came home with a bronze. Both gymnasts faced tough competition from some of the best tumble gymnastic clubs in the South East.

Dyson Gymnastics Club has a team of 17 coaches who tutor children aged between three and 18. More than 650 children are registered with the club, which is based in Glebe Villas Hall in Glebe Villas, and offers floor, vault, beam and trampette skills training.

The club provides recreational classes as well as competitive squad sessions, and covers a range of disciplines including tumbling, general, artistic and acrobatic gymnastics.

Head tumble coach Kerry Anderson said: “We are extremely proud of our gymnasts’ achievements.

“Having six regional champions in the club is testament to all the hard work and the commitment shown by our gymnasts and coaches.”

Dyson Gymnastics Club has successfully competed in a variety of regional and national gymnastics tournaments including tumble, floor and vault and acrobatics competitions.

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