Fewer school children expelled

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There has been a fall in the number of pupils excluded from schools in England. New Department for Education statistics show that expulsions fell by about 12% in 2009-10, compared with the previous year, while suspensions were down about 9%.

The figures show that:

  • There were an estimated 5,740 permanent exclusions from primary, secondary and all special schools in 2009/10.
  • There were 279,260 fixed period exclusions from state funded secondary schools, 37,210 fixed period exclusions from primary schools and 14,910 fixed period exclusions from special schools.
  • The average length of a fixed period exclusion in state funded secondary schools was 2.5 days, for primary schools the average length of a fixed period exclusion was 2.1 days.
  • The permanent exclusion rate for boys was approximately four times higher than that for girls. The fixed period exclusion rate for boys was almost three times higher than that for girls.
  • Pupils with SEN with statements are around eight times more likely to be permanently excluded than those pupils with no SEN.
  • Children who are eligible for free school meals are around four times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion and three times more likely to receive a fixed period exclusion than children who are not eligible for free school meals.
  • Nearly 900 children are suspended from school for abuse and assault every school day.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: ""With thousands of pupils being excluded for persistent disruption and violent or abusive behaviour we remain concerned that weak discipline remains a significant problem in too many of our schools and classrooms," he said.

"Tackling poor behaviour and raising academic standards are key priorities for the coalition government. We will back head teachers in excluding persistently disruptive pupils, which is why we are removing barriers which limit their authority."

"We are also concerned that pupils who are excluded from school not only receive a good education but are also helped to tackle their behaviour problems. It is unacceptable that only 1.4 per cent pupils in alternative provision achieve five good GCSEs including English and Maths."

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "Fewer and fewer schools now need to resort to the ultimate sanction of permanent exclusion, a fact that should be celebrated. Clearly the existing powers on behaviour have been good enough for major progress to be made.

"That said, there remain well-placed concerns about the apparent disparity in exclusion rates across school types and different demographic groups. Too many schools are still forced to exclude because they do not have the skills or resources to deal with children who suffer from mental illness, abuse or tragically turbulent lifestyles."

School Leadership Today
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