Exclusive — Barnie Choudhury
A generation of Asian children in Birmingham are in danger of having no job because they have been excluded from school.
That is the warning from the city’s Perry Barr MP, Khalid Mahmood.
It comes as figures show that Birmingham tops the number of Asian pupils excluded for a “fixed term”.
In an interview for Eastern Eye, Mr Mahmood said, “Amongst the Asians, particularly amongst the Pakistanis and Bengalis boys, we have the highest rates of low achievements in those schools, and that support is not being given.
“Their families are suffering in terms of health inequalities and the jobs they have.
“Now we have a generation of young people coming through who are not going to be able to go forward because as soon as you start to get exclusions, that follows you through to college and university if you get that far, and most of them do not get that far.”
Birmingham heads list of Asian exclusions
What the figures show is that in the 2018–19 school year, almost 1,800 Asian children in Birmingham were excluded but allowed to return after serving their punishment.
That is almost 10 per cent of the near 18,660 Asians excluded in 150 boroughs, towns and cities in England.
The Labour MP said cuts to public services in Birmingham meant schools were under pressure and could not support children who may need help.
“I’m really concerned about the resources and the way kids are being dealt with,” said Mr Mahmood.
“It’s easier now for schools to get rid of children What’s going on at the moment is that there’s no tolerance for people who need a bit of support, and when the schools can’t find that support, they’d much rather get them out of the way than concentrate on the education.”
What are the rules for excluding children?
According to the government a head teacher can exclude children if “they misbehave in or outside school”.
The guidance also states, “Your child’s school will let you know about an exclusion as soon as possible. They’ll follow up with a letter telling you how long your child is excluded for and why.
“You should also be told how to challenge the exclusion, if you want to.
“Exclusions can start on the same day, but the school shouldn’t make you collect your child straight away.”
Parents must also make sure that their children are not in a public place in the first five days of their punishment period.
Birmingham City Council response
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said, “As always with this sort of data it is more helpful to look at the stats in context rather than simply raw numbers. As the largest local authority in the country we inevitably top a lot of lists that are solely based on raw numbers.
“Asian pupils make up 2.3 per cent of exclusions in the city, which actually puts Birmingham as 27th not first when looked at as a percentage.
“We continue to monitor exclusion rates and work closely with schools, but raw numbers will always be higher in Birmingham given the size of the authority.”
But it is not the proportion which concerns the MP for Perry Barr.
Traditionally, said Mr Mahmood, Asian parents want their children to do well at school and stay out of trouble.
“We’ve seen huge rates of disproportionate unemployment for some time now in inner cities and especially places like Birmingham.
“What it becomes is a spiral, and it gets away from the ethics of what the community is about and what they want their children to do.”
And he is concerned with the future of all his constituents that he has personally intervened to help them.
“I’ve had a number of cases where I’ve had to go to appeals with families to try to resolve this. I’ve been able to go in and explain what is going on.
“Where the parent doesn’t or can’t explain, it’s straight forward exclusion. They’re completely helpless.”