Sunderland school suspended more than half its pupils in a year

An English state school has suspended more than half its pupils in a single year for the first time on record, Guardian analysis has found, as national exclusion rates continue to rise.

Red House academy in Sunderland, run by the Northern Education Trust, an academy chain, recorded the highest fixed-term exclusion rate in England in the 2017-18 academic year. It handed at least one fixed-term exclusion to 254 pupils, just over half the total attending the school.

One teacher who has worked at a Northern Education Trust school with high exclusion rates told the Guardian he had witnessed pupils being excluded for what he said were minor offences, from wearing jewellery to having eyebrows that were deemed too dark.

“[The trust take over] these very, very deprived schools and they come in with a one-size-fits-all approach and say: ‘If you don’t do things our way then you are out, simple as.’ It’s kind of militaristic,” he said.

Read more about England’s highest excluding academies and what they have to say about ‘zero tolerance’ Sunderland school suspended more than half its pupils in a year 

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