Calderdale schools exclude 84 pupils over drink and drugs

Ryburn Valley high school had the highest rate of suspensions for drink and drugs, but a substance misuse charity has praised its robust approach to detecting and dealing with the issue
Ryburn Valley high school had the highest rate of suspensions for drink and drugs, but a substance misuse charity has praised its robust approach to detecting and dealing with the issue
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DRUG and alcohol-related exclusions from Calderdale schools rose by nearly 35 per cent in a year.

Six times as many suspensions were made for bullying and exclusions for theft nearly doubled, figures obtained by the Courier reveal.

Drugs or alcohol were the reason for 84 suspensions and one pupil being expelled from state-funded high schools here in 2009/10 - the most recent year for which data is available.

The most were at Rastrick and Ryburn Valley high schools, which handed out 14 suspensions each.

Helen Lennie, head teacher at Rastrick, said: “In line with Government guidelines and best practice, we have a specific drugs policy which is rigorously applied as part of our whole school behaviour policy.

“We work hard to reduce the number of exclusions, ideally hoping never to have to impose such sanctions.

“However to maintain our high standards and orderly school community, it is unfortunately sometimes necessary.”

Hipperholme and Lightcliffe high school expelled one pupil over drugs and alcohol that year.

In the previous year, Calderdale high schools made 61 suspensions over drugs and alcohol.

Ryburn Valley high school was again at the top of the table, imposing 18 suspensions.

Richard Clarke, deputy head at Ryburn, said: “Ryburn has a very strict policy towards alcohol and drug issues.

“We have a responsibility to our students and parents to keep our school as safe as possible.”

Katy Hetherington, of substance misuse charity Lifeline’s Branching Out service, praised Ryburn’s work in detecting and dealing with pupils’ drink and drug issues.

She said: “They always involve us and really do nip it in the bud.”

She added: “All the secondary schools are making a really good effort in terms of addressing substance misuse.

“We’re in pretty much every school working with young people around prevention.”

Sowerby Bridge and St Catherine’s high schools expelled a pupil each over drugs or alcohol that year.

Bullying-related suspensions rose to 27 in 2009/10 from four the previous year.

The most were at Calder high school, which made eight suspensions. No pupils from any Calderdale schools were expelled for bullying.

The number of theft-related exclusions has rocketed to 29 from 15 the previous year.

The most were at Calder High and Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, which imposed six suspensions each for stealing. Brooksbank school expelled one pupil over theft.

The figures, released after a Freedom of Information request by the Courier, have gone down across the other categories.

The total number of exclusions has dropped by around 5 per cent from 1,240 to 1181.

Primary school suspension figures remained the same, with 122 being made in both years.

But they expelled four pupils in 2009/10 compared with just one the previous year.

Suspensions for pupils assaulting adults in Calderdale primary schools have risen by close to 40 per cent from 22 to 31.

The most incidents were at Christ Church primary school in Pellon, Halifax, where six were recorded.

The number of suspensions made for pupils verbally abusing their classmates trebled from three to nine.

Exclusion data for 2010/11 is currently being collected in the school census and will not be available until summer.

• For the full table of figures see tomorrow’s Courier.