11 April 2019
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has written today to Robert Halfon MP , chair of the House of Commons Education Committee, following a letter from Mr Halfon to the Secretary of State for Education over the committee’s inquiry into knife crime and school exclusions.
Mr Barton points out that there is no evidence of a causal link between exclusions and knife crime. He says: “The causes of the rise in knife crime are clearly complex, but it is important that we focus our resources and energies as a society on factors that are proven to be linked to knife crime, rather than blaming schools for an issue which they have not caused.”
On exclusions, Mr Barton says: “Schools take the decision to exclude extremely seriously, only after much thought and consideration, and in the interests of other children who have a right to learn in a safe and orderly environment.”
He says that the rise in the rate of permanent exclusions in recent years has been driven by real-terms cuts to school funding which have made it more difficult to provide early intervention. “We feel this is another pressing reason why the level of school funding must be improved as a matter of urgency,” he says.