THE number of primary school pupils suspended for attacking their teachers is rising, according to shocking new figures.
Children aged between five and 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.
The new Department for Education figures also show Yorkshire schools have the highest level of pupils being suspended in the country – but also the lowest level of permanent exclusions.
There were 32,250 suspensions from schools in the region with 27,230 happening at secondary school. This is the equivalent of almost one in 20 pupils in all schools and one in ten pupils at secondary school across Yorkshire being suspended. Both figures were worse than any other Government region in England.
The most common reason for pupils being given a “fixed term exclusion” was permanent disruptive behaviour, which accounted for almost 9,5000 cases.
There were 2,030 fixed term exclusions across primary, secondary and special schools for assaults on adults in school and another 5,460 for assaults on pupils.
Despite having the highest level of suspensions in the country the figure is down on the previous academic year when there was 34,380 cases in Yorkshire.
Pupils were also suspended for instances of theft, damage, racism and possessing drugs.
And although the region had more suspensions from school than anywhere else it also has fewer pupils being permanently excluded than any other region.
There were 270 permanent exclusions in 2012/13, with 240 from secondaries and 30 from primary schools. This represents 0.03 per cent of Yorkshire pupils. This was down on 2011/12 when there were 320 permanent exclusions.
Coun Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “There has been a big push at not permanently excluding pupils. Our schools work together in area inclusion partnerships and in local clusters on a more local level to try to find a solution for each pupil.”
She said that schools taking this approach could suspend a child but it helped to avoid the need for a permanent exclusion.
Nationally 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 three times more likely to be permanently or temporarily removed from school than girls.
The Government said the statistics showed its reforms 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.”
Comment: Page 12.