Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Hundreds of pupils suspended daily

Around 878 pupils a day are suspended for assault or abuse towards their teachers or classmates, new figures show

Almost 900 children are suspended from school every day for attacking or verbally abusing their teachers and classmates, new figures show.

The equivalent to 13 pupils were permanently expelled every school day for these reasons. The statistics, published by the Department for Education, reveal the extent of bad behaviour in England's schools.

In total, schoolchildren were suspended on 166,900 occasions for assault or abuse - the same as 878 pupils a day. And pupils were expelled on 2,460 occasions, the figures show.

These figures include exclusions for physical assaults against pupils and adults, verbal abuse and threatening behaviour and racist abuse. The statistics also reveal that large numbers of young children are still being suspended for all types of bad behaviour.

Children aged four and under were suspended from school 1,210 times in total, and were permanently excluded 20 times. In addition, five-year-olds faced 3,020 suspensions, and 40 expulsions.

Across all of England's primary, secondary and special schools, boys were around four times more likely to be expelled than girls, with boys accounting for 78% of all permanent exclusions.

The suspension rate was also almost three times higher for boys than for girls, with boys accounting for 75% of all temporary exclusions.

Sara Gadzik, spokeswoman for the Association for School and College Leaders, said: "The figures prove that schools are already tough on discipline and that poor behaviour is not tolerated in classrooms. Pupils who disrupt the learning of their classmates are dealt with firmly and in many cases a short suspension is an effective way of nipping bad behaviour in the bud."

Barnardo's chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: "All children deserve an education and it is unacceptable that in 2009/10 there were almost 590,000 days of school missed due to fixed-term exclusions. It is also concerning that some children are being repeatedly excluded, with almost 20% of those children having been excluded twice and 6% on five or more occasions.

"Clearly, managing challenging and disruptive behaviour in schools is essential. But very vulnerable children who are persistently disruptive often have problems at home which mean that they need extra help to manage their behaviour. Repeatedly excluding a child is ineffectual and does little to improve behaviour, and for this reason the 'tough discipline' approach currently being recommended by the Government is misguided."

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