Exclusions at Levenmouth Academy double Fife average

Fife Council said it is working with parents and pupils to address unauthorised absences.
Fife Council said it is working with parents and pupils to address unauthorised absences.

The number of exclusions at Levenmouth Academy in the last school year was more than double the Fife average.

In the school’s attainment and achievement report for 2016/17, figures showed that, per 1000 pupils, 99 temporary exclusions had been given.

That was more than double the average for Fife – 42 per 1000 pupils.

And while, per 1000 pupils, 97 days had been spent excluded in all Fife schools, the figure was 233 for the academy.

The report also highlighted the number of unauthorised absences.

While the Fife figure was 3.42 per cent, the figure for Levenmouth Academy was 6.38 per cent.

Councillor Colin Davidson expressed concern about the high figure for exclusion.

“It should always be a last resort,” he said.

“It is a proper sanction if it allows the child to reflect on their behaviour and allows the other kids to be taught.

“However, keeping a child in school, at all times, irrespective of their behaviour, sends out the wrong message.”

Cllr Davidson pointed out he did not blame the school for the number of unauthorised absences.

“That’s a culture that has been allowed to develop,” he explained.

“We need to get the message to parents that they need to work with the school to make sure that their children are turning up to school. I don’t blame the school for that. I think it needs to be more creative in how it tackles non-attendance. But I’m fully supportive of the school.”

Despite these figures, the report did include a number of positives.

Some attainment levels in numeracy and literacy have grown since the creation of the academy, following the merger of Buckhaven and Kirkland high schools.

The report also highlighted some of the achievements of the school and its pupils.

A spokesman for Fife Council said: “We recognise that the number of exclusions for the school is currently high and use exclusions only when it is absolutely necessary and all other strategies have been exhausted. We always work with our young people, their families and our partners to look at all available alternatives to exclusion, and to reduce the need for temporary exclusion from school.

“There are a number of reasons for unauthorised absences, including parents taking their children out of school to go on holiday during term time. However, we are working with parents and pupils to address this.”