School bans for race hate abuse

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Ten pupils were excluded from Wigan schools last year for racist abuse, new figures have revealed.

In the academic year from 2014/15, a total of 1,710 fixed period exclusions were issued to Wigan pupils for a variety of reasons ranging from disruptive behaviour to physical assaults.

“We fully support our schools and will continue to work with them to tackle this issue and take appropriate action in any case of racism regardless of a school’s funding status.”

Wigan Council spokesman

The figures include all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in the borough and show that as well as the 10 exclusions for racist abuse, there were 10 for sexual misconduct and 10 for bullying.

The most exclusions, 390, were handed out for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour towards an adult, while 290 exclusions were for a physical assault against a pupil and 140 for physical assault against an adult.

30 exclusions were drug and alcohol related, 20 were for theft, 60 for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour towards a pupil and 30 for damage. The reason for a further 350 exclusions were included under other.

The exclusions for racist abuse made up only 0.58 per cent on Wigan’s total, the lowest proportion in Greater Manchester.

But Wigan is one of the least diverse boroughs in Greater Manchester, with the 2011 census showing only a small percentage of the borough’s population being from ethnic minority groups.

A council spokesman said: “Every child has the right to learn in an environment free from prejudice and to feel safe no matter what their sexuality, race or religion.

“We take an inclusive approach to challenging behaviour with our schools, where we will explore a range of options to support our children and young people before measures like exclusions are considered.

“However, we have a zero tolerance approach to this behaviour and would expect every child to be treated as an equal.

“We fully support our schools and will continue to work with them to tackle this issue and take appropriate action in any case of racism regardless of a school’s funding status.”

More than 1,500 children in Greater Manchester have been excluded from school for racist abuse of their peers since 2009.

Last year, there were 240 cases of racist abuse in the city’s schools which were serious enough to warrant a fixed or permanent exclusion.

Across the North West, at least two children are excluded from school a day for racist abuse of their peers.

Nationally there were 4,000 cases of racist abuse, amounting to twenty exclusions a day.

Rochdale and Stockport had the highest proportion of exclusions for racial abuse, while central Manchester had the highest number – with 50 children excluded for racism a year.