Thuggish kids as young as FOUR have been chucked out of schools in the West Midlands for attacking teachers and classmates, a Birmingham Live investigation has revealed. Children were kicked out despite their tender age – and having only just started school – as their actions were deemed serious enough by headteachers to warrant permanent exclusion.
Exclusion data obtained by Birmingham Live showed a number of reception-aged pupils had been booted out of schools for violent behavior in recent years. They included two boys at the reception at a school in Dudley who were excluded for assaulting adults and two girls at the reception at Dudley who were chucked out for “persistent disruptive behavior”.
A girl at reception in Birmingham was excluded for assaulting an adult last year, while a boy aged four or five was also kicked out of a Birmingham school in 2021 for persistent disruptive behavior, though the reasons were not provided. In 2019, four reception-age kids assaulted adults, leading to them being excluded.
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Elsewhere, a five-year-old boy was chucked out of a Wolverhampton school last year for “verbal abuse and threatening an adult”, while another at a primary school in the city was ordered to leave for assaulting a fellow pupil. That came after two five-year-olds were excluded from Wolverhampton schools for attacking teachers during the 2019/20 academic year. Two pupils in Year 2 were excluded in Walsall during 2021/22 but reasons were not given.
Children aged four and five excluded since 2017:
- Birmingham – 22
- Wolverhampton – 15
- Dudley – 10 (including six in Year 1, some of whom may have turned six)
Details have been revealed following a Freedom of Information request to West Midlands councils by Birmingham Live, which show headteachers have not been afraid to take tough action against unruly, violent and disruptive young children. But the revelations may be of concern to education leaders and police chiefs who say exclusion should only be a last resort, and may question whether it is an appropriate course of action with children aged as young as four, with exclusions potentially harming their chances of getting a good education as they grow older.
Hundreds of pupils of all ages have been permanently excluded across the West Midlands over the last five years, the data showed. There is pressure on headteachers to balance the interests and safety of all pupils against the future prospects of disruptive children.
Keziah Featherstone, head at the secondary Q3 Academy in Tipton, said permanent exclusion would always be a last resort but that sometimes a pupil may cross a line from which there is no return. She said: “Exclusion is always absolutely the last resort. It’s normally because of persistent disruption that hasn’t been able to be addressed by any other means.
“I have a duty of care to the 1,512 students at the school along with the 200 adults who come in every day.” While accepting permanent exclusions might sometimes be necessary police believe such extreme action can often do more harm than good, as the life chances of troubled kids are effectively tossed on the scrapheap at an early age.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, said: “We know that permanently excluding a young person from school might be occasionally necessary. However, it should always be a last resort. The starting point should always be prevention, early intervention and addressing the underlying causes of the behavior that is putting that young person at risk of exclusion. “