Concerns have been raised about the disproportionately large number of black children being excluded from schools in Croydon.
In 2018/19 there were 1,543 fixed term exclusions in the borough while 43 children were excluded permanently.
This is slightly up from 1,522 and 39 respectively in the previous year.
Of the permanent exclusions 17 were of black ethnicites.
Broken down by ethnicity, 655 of the fixed term exclusions were of black children. Broken down further 398 were of black Caribbean, 186 black African and 71 of any other black background.
This means fixed term exclusions of black children made up 42 per cent of all exclusions in Croydon and permanent exclusions made up 39 per cent.
But figures from the 2011 census show that just 20 per cent of the population in Croydon is black African, Caribbean or Black British.
This means proportionately the number of exclusions of children from black ethnic backgrounds are double what they ought to be.
While 159 were mixed white and black Caribbean, 43 were mixed white and black African.
Overall in the same year just 303 of the exclusions were of white British children.
The most common reason for exclusion was for physical assault against another pupil
Councillor Patricia Hay-Justice who is from a Caribbean background said she wanted to know what the council is doing to address the high numbers.
At a meeting of the council’s children and young people scrutiny meeting on Tuesday, January 21, she said: “I have two young children who are black and I also have nieces and nephews who have gone through the education system.
“I am a mother who is at home and I appreciate what it is like for a black child, I do appreciate what it is like as a black young individual in the school system.”
In response, interim head of safeguarding and inclusion at the council, Michael McKeavney, said that the council takes the figures “exceptionally seriously” and that exclusion should always be the last resort.
He said: “First of all we have the headteacher in and have a conversation about their exclusion levels we then break it down to the ethnicities of the exclusion levels.
“We’ve started a Croydon-wide focus on trauma-informed practice and will have a conference of all headteachers of identified schools
“We have identified schools which will need to begin this process with an inclusion manager.
“We also have the transition programme from the GLA which involved Stepping Stones which has had quite a powerful impact for schools in East London which had a high exclusion rate for black and minority ethnic (BAME) boys.
“I think there is still a lot more to do, it is for our headteachers and everyone in that school to notice that everyone who walks through that door has gifts and talents and something to give .
“I really take your point and I agree with it, it’s far too high and there are schools we’re having robust conversations with at the moment.”
Written by: Tara O’Connor
First published 05.02.20: https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/-17693580