Rise in number of pupils excluded for racist bullying in Derbyshire

The number of pupils being excluded from Derbyshire schools for racist bullying has risen in the last year.

The overall number of pupil exclusions in the county over the same period has also risen slightly.

Department for Education data shows Derbyshire's schools excluded students 83 times for racist abuse in 2018-19.

​That was up from 73 in the previous academic year.

Pupil exclusions for racist bullying have risen in Derbyshire in the last year. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

All were fixed-term exclusions, also known as suspensions, where a pupil is temporarily removed.

The figures include abuse by children at state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in the area.

It was a similar picture across the rest of England, where pupils were excluded for racist bullying on 4,900 occasions last year – up from 4,300 in 2017-18.

Anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate said a national rise in the number of exclusions due to racism is a concern, but that schools are clamping down on the behaviour.

Owen Jones, head of education at Hope Not Hate, said the number of additional racist abuse exclusions last year was ‘worrying’.

But he added: "From what we have seen, there is a much better concerted effort to clamp down and take it more seriously.

"The tolerance for that behaviour is reducing, students of colour are having more confidence to speak up."

Angela Wright, education development lead at anti-hate crime charity Stop Hate UK, said targets for racist incidents are becoming increasingly younger.

She added: "Behind every hate incident is an individual and family that are affected.”

Overall, Derbyshire schools excluded pupils 5,184 times in 2018-19 – a rise of two per cent on the previous year.

That compared favourably with the national picture where exclusions were up by seven per cent overall.

A DfE spokesman said permanent exclusion should be a last resort.

He added: “We know that some pupils will return to school in September having experienced loss or adversity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which is why we have also provided guidance for school leaders on how to re-engage these pupils and create the right classroom environment to help them thrive.”