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Teacher attack suspensions rise

The number of primary school pupils suspended for attacking teachers has risen, official figures show.

Students aged five to 11 were suspended 9,080 times for physical assault against an adult in the 2012/13 school year, up from 8,630 in 2011/12, according to Department for Education figures.

The total number of suspensions in state primary schools rose slightly year-on-year but fell in secondary schools for the sixth year in a row, the figures show.

The total number of state pupils being permanently expelled from primary and secondary school has also fallen, from 5,080 in 2011/12 to 4,570 last year, the statistics show.

Boys are still three times as likely to be permanently or temporarily removed from school than girls.

The Government said the statistics showed how its reforms to give headteachers powers to stamp out bad behaviour were working.

School Reform Minister Nick Gibb said: "A tiny minority of disruptive children can absorb almost all of a teacher's time and attention, and have an enormously negative impact on the education of other pupils.

"We have given heads and teachers more power than ever before to ensure strong discipline in school, so they can take action before exclusion becomes necessary.

We have introduced new search powers, no-notice detentions, and have put schools back in charge of exclusion appeals.

"We are also tackling the causes of exclusion by improving the quality of teaching, tackling disadvantage through the pupil premium, overhauling the Special Educational Needs (SEN) system and making radical improvements to alternative provision.

"These figures give further confirmation that our reforms are starting to have a real impact on improving behaviour in schools and this is supported by teachers on the ground - in 2013, more teachers rated their school's behaviour as good or very good than when previously surveyed in 2008.

"And 130,000 fewer pupils are persistently missing class than in 2010."

As well as 9,080 attacks on teachers, the figures show there were 8,740 attacks by primary pupils on other students in 2012/13, down from 9,120 the previous academic year. At 24% and 23% respectively, they accounted for almost half (47%) of all primary pupil suspensions, although "persistent disruptive behaviour" (9,920/26%) was the single most common factor.

In contrast, at state secondary schools there were 4,690 suspensions for attacks on adults, or 2.2% of the total suspensions, and 40,780 for attacks on other students (18.9%). Persistent disruptive behaviour (52,080/24%) was again the largest single cause of suspensions.

It also accounted for 30.8% of all school expulsions, the figures show.

Earlier this month, Government-commissioned research showed a move to give schools more responsibility for excluded pupils and those at risk of exclusion, led to fewer youngsters being expelled.

The pilot in schools from 11 local authorities suggested that giving schools greater control over what happens to these youngsters meant they dealt with behaviour problems earlier and were more involved in deciding where the children should be educated.


From Belfast Telegraph