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Stewartry pupils on best behaviour

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Stewartry pupils on best behaviour

PUPILS across the Stewartry are bucking the trend when it comes to school attendance and exclusions for bad behaviour.

The majority of regions across Scotland are reporting an increase in unruly behaviour, youngsters being temporarily excluded from class, and even assaults on school staff.

However, a promising new education report shows that pupils locally being temporarily excluded due to bad behaviour actually dropped to just over seven half days lost per 1000 pupils between April 2023 and September 2023.

Jim Brown, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s chief education officer, who wrote the report, stated: “Stewartry school exclusion rates (per 1000 pupils) is 7.39 which is better than the target measure of 7.95.”

This is in contrast to Nithsdale where the figures have climbed to a rate of 13.38 half days per 1000 pupils – far exceeding the target of 7.95 half days.

Meanwhile, Stewartry school attendance rate is 93.1 per cent, which is an increase of 0.5 per cent on the same period the previous year.

However, the school exclusion statistics for looked after children are falling well below the education department’s target.

Between April 2023 and September 2023, the number of half-day temporary exclusions per 1000 pupils for all looked after children was 95.24. This is significantly higher than the target of 55.5 half days per 1000 pupils.

Mr Brown wrote: “Like all regions across Scotland, we are seeing an increase in pupils displaying disregulated behaviours. For some pupils this behaviour results in a period of exclusion to allow for a plan to support them to be created or amended.

“All schools have identified an ‘inclusive practice lead’ who has participated in NurtureUK training. All schools have been offered whole staff nurture training and support to carry out inclusive practice self evaluation in order to identify next steps and training needed.

“A framework of professional learning has been created for learning assistants and early years staff to support and develop their practice. “CECYP (Care Experienced Children and Young People) funding has funded the appointment of a teacher care experienced education team to support pupils in Stewartry and Wigtown.

“In addition, any school considering excluding a looked after pupil must discuss this with the assistant director of schools before proceeding with exclusion.”

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