One primary school child suspended every week

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One primary school child is suspended each week for drink and drugs, new government figures show.

The figures, released this week by the Department for Education, show that in 2012-13, 40 children at primary schools in England were given temporary exclusions for reasons that included alcohol abuse, drug dealing, inappropriate use of prescribed drugs, possession of illegal drugs, smoking and substance abuse.

There are 39 weeks in the average school term, meaning more than one pupil aged 5-11 is suspended every week.

The figures also show that there were 6,590 drink and drug-related fixed period suspensions in secondary schools in 2012-13, the latest year for which figures are available.

Another 360 exclusions were imposed, where students were removed from the school permanently, accounting for one in ten of all expulsions.

The number of secondary school suspensions has fallen from 8,470 in 2009-10, but the number of expulsions has risen since 2010 from 290 to 360.

Conservative MP, Andrew Griffiths, said: "It is deeply worrying that so many children appear at school under the influence.

"We do have to ask what is happening to the parents of these children and are they being prosecuted. Clearly they are getting the drugs and alcohol from somewhere."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Prohibited items including alcohol and drugs have no place whatsoever in the classroom. We have introduced a range of powers for teachers to ensure discipline, behaviour and safety are maintained.

"Teachers now have stronger powers to search pupils, when they suspect they may be in possession of a prohibited item. Changes to the system mean a school's decision to exclude a pupil can no longer be overruled. Teachers can use reasonable force to remove disruptive pupils from the classroom when necessary."

School Leadership Today
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