SCHOOLS in Gloucestershire could be fined £5,000 if they permanently exclude pupils, according to plans being drawn up by the county council.

The council is proposing the idea to bring down the exclusion rate in the county, which figures show is above the national average and highest in the South West.

According to a council report released earlier this year, 141 pupils were excluded during the 2017/18 academic year.

Under the same plans, any school which takes on a child which has been permanently excluded would receive £5,000.

A consultation released by the authority said the exclusion rate remains “worryingly high”.

To combat this, the council want to penalise schools who permanently exclude pupils and support those who take them on.

The document said: “We suggest that a change to how we fund exclusions may help schools to accommodate children who may need additional support in adjusting to a new school placement.

“We suggest that where a school admits a pupil who has been permanently excluded from another school, they should receive £5,000 once the child has been on roll for three months.

“This proposal would be funded by each school contributing £5,000 to the pool when they permanently exclude. All schools would need to agree to the proposal for it to proceed.”

Labour leader Lesley Williams (Stonehouse) said the proposal could be an “incentive” for headteachers to think twice about permanently excluding a pupil.

She said: “Some schools are much better at supporting students than others. For some, if something goes wrong then you’re out.

“If a headteacher thought it was going to be costly they might work with the pupil to find out what’s happening. It could be an incentive to encourage headteachers to be more sympathetic to the needs of the child.”

The consultation results will be discussed at cabinet meeting later this year.