East Sussex school children among the naughtiest in England according to new data

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Latest education stats indicate that East Sussex ranks among the highest in the South East for school suspensions and exclusions in England.

East Sussex is ranked at number two for the worst behaviour, beaten only by The Isle of Wight, with Brighton and Hove coming in at number ten.

The data was collected ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week, which runs from 5th-11th February and was compiled by Education Solicitors, IBB Law.

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The data considers state funded primary and secondary schools, as well as special schools. In East Sussex, there were a total of 331 exclusions and 10,680 suspensions.

East SussexEast Sussex
East Sussex

The most common reason for expulsion in East Sussex was physical abuse of pupils, and persistent disruption caused the most suspensions.

This mimics the rest of the South East region where the most common reasons for expulsion were persistent disruption (29%), physical abuse of pupils (19%), and physical abuse of adults (12%).

The top reasons for suspensions were similar across the region too, although verbal abuse to adults was an addition. Concerningly, drug and alcohol related issues sit 7th out of 17 reasons listed, with 460 occasions relating to suspensions.

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When comparing the statistics over the past five years, all regions (excluding Outer London) have seen an increase in the number of disciplinaries given out in the academic year 2021/22, potentially highlighting issues with behaviour within schools since the pandemic.

Celia Whittuck, Senior Associate at IBB, says: ““The data revealing the causes behind suspensions and expulsions in UK schools underscores the critical need for a balanced and fair approach in addressing disciplinary issues. It is imperative to recognise that behind every statistic is a student's future at stake.

“Beyond disciplinary measures, we need a holistic understanding that considers the socio-economic, cultural, and mental health aspects influencing behaviour, especially following the pandemic.

“The disruptions to normalcy, isolation, and the shift to virtual learning have created unprecedented challenges. Many children have experienced heightened stress, anxiety, and a sense of disconnection, leading to observable changes in behaviour.

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"The relationship between suspensions, exclusions and special educational needs (SEN) should also not be overlooked. SEN is a factor in some suspensions and exclusions.

“To address the state of children's behaviour, it is crucial for educators, parents, and policymakers to collaborate, emphasising the importance of holistic education that goes beyond academics."

The relation between children’s mental health and their behaviour is known to be closely linked. It is common for stress and worry within children to manifest into behavioural issues which could affect their school performance, or worse, see them reprimanded with a suspension or exclusion.

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The latest data from the Department of Education surrounding school disciplinary actions was analysed by comparing the number of pupils excluded or suspended once or more to the headcount of pupils over the last 5 years.