Exclusions in Reading secondary schools have more than halved over the last four years and the trend is continuing.

Between 2015/16 and 2017/2018 the number of exclusions fell from 1,245 to 651, according to the latest Department for Education statistics.

Councillor Ashley Pearce, lead member for Education at Reading Borough Council (RBC), has revealed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service that exclusions have gone down again in 2018/19.

The number of incidents have dropped by 12.4 per cent, with the number of days lost to exclusions reducing by 18.2 per cent.

Cllr Pearce said the downward trend has continued in the first half term of this year but the council cannot publish official figures yet.

One of the key targets for RBC’s new children’s services company Brighter Futures for Children is to reduce secondary school exclusions.

The council has praised the impact of its therapeutic approach, although this was only introduced earlier this year – in February.

Councillor Ashley Pearce, lead member for Education, said it is having a big impact, however, and told the LDRS the council’s latest data suggests exclusion rates will continue to fall when figures for 2018/19 are released.

He said: “Exclusions are falling which we are very proud of. We think that is in no small part due to the therapeutic approach.”

The ‘Now is the Time’ report, which introduced the therapeutic strategy in February, highlighted a series of challenges to Reading’s quality of education, including high exclusion rates.

One of the key targets for Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) new children’s services company Brighter Futures for Children is to reduce secondary schools.

Kate Reynolds, director for Education at BFfC, said: “We are very proud of the dramatic reduction we have had in exclusions in secondary schools.

“Reading schools are now well below the average and we think part of that is the therapeutic approach, although it is early days.

“The decline in exclusions is absolutely fundamental to what we want to do.”

Primary school exclusions have also decreased, with a quarter less incidents in 2018/19 compared to the year before and days lost reduced by a third.

There are also positive signs in each area with incidents and days lost going down for children on free schools meals and children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).