Department for Education figures reveal Yorkshire's schools excluded students 140 times for sexual misconduct in 2018-19, two of which were permanent exclusions, but charity Rape Crisis has said the figures do not show the true scale of sexual abuse inside schools, following thousands of allegations by pupils across England.
Of the exclusions in 2019-19, 127 occurred in state-funded secondary schools, seven in primary schools and six in special schools.
They were among 1,972 sexual misconduct exclusions – which include incidents of sexual abuse, sexual bullying and sexual harassment – across England that year.
Though a 13 per cent drop on the year before, Rape Crisis said the number of exclusions will not show the true scale of sexist bullying and sexual violence being perpetrated in schools, particularly against girls.
Katie Russell, national spokeswoman for the charity, added: "We’ve known for a number of years about the high prevalence and serious impacts of sexual violence and abuse in schools.
"The Women and Equalities Select Committee published a comprehensive report into this issue with clear recommendations back in 2016, some of which are yet to be implemented.
More than 14,000 testimonies have been posted on the Everyone’s Invited website, where pupils can anonymously share their experiences of abuse and assault.
Some students have accused their establishments of not tackling a “rape culture”.
Website founder Soma Sara said the number of students who have the confidence to report incidences of sexual misconduct pales in comparison to the number who have suffered.
The Government announced an immediate review into sexual abuse in schools in the wake of the allegations, while an NSPCC helpline and an Ofsted review were also launched.
Children's charity Barnardo’s said young victims of harmful sexual behaviour often feel embarrassed or fear they won’t be taken seriously.
Javed Khan, chief executive, said: “In some cases exclusions are necessary, but all children displaying inappropriate sexual behaviour must have access to therapeutic support so they can understand, confront and change their behaviour through trauma informed rehabilitation."
Overall, Yorkshire schools excluded pupils 45,985 times in 2018/19 - 45,440 of which were fixed, and 545 permanent.
Schools in Wakefield had the highest amount of exclusions with 7,931 in the same year - 7,845 of which were fixed and 86 permanent.
This was followed by Leeds with 6,533 exclusions, of which 6,522 were fixed and 11 permanent.
York schools had the least amount of exclusions with 1,415, of which 1,395 were fixed and 20 permanent.
A Government spokeswoman said: “Where schools do not meet the strict safeguarding standards that we have in place, we will take swift action and we will always back headteachers to remove a pupil from the classroom where this creates a calm and disciplined environment.
“We would encourage anyone who is aware of any specific incidents – and feels comfortable reporting their concerns – to do so.”