Yorkshire suspends one in 20 pupils for

Rifleman Sheldon Steel
Rifleman Sheldon Steel
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YORKSHIRE has one of the highest rates of pupils being suspended in the country but the lowest level of students being permanently excluded, new figures reveal.

Across the region 35,840 pupils were given fixed term exclusions in the 2010/11 academic year according to the Department for Education (DfE).

This was almost one in 20 of all pupils, 4.63 per cent, and the second highest figure of any Government region in England behind the South East.

The region, however, also had the country’s lowest level of pupils being expelled.

Tables, produced yesterday by the DfE, show that 300 pupils of all ages were permanently excluded from Yorkshire schools, 0.04 per cent of the region’s overall pupil population.

Of these students, 260 were white, 20 were from an Asian background and a further 10 were of mixed race.

Doncaster schools had the highest rate of suspended pupils in the region with 3,720 cases – seven per cent of the town’s pupils.

This was followed by Wakefield where 6.8 per cent of pupils were suspended at least once in 2010/11.

Across Yorkshire the most common reason for pupils being suspended was persistently disruptive behaviour which accounted for almost 10,000 cases.

A further 6,170 pupils were suspended for assaulting a fellow pupil and 1,880 were given fixed-term exclusion for assaulting school staff.

There were also 7,750 pupils suspended for verbally abusing or threatening an adult in school.

There were more than 1,000 cases of this in Leeds schools – one of the biggest education authorities in the region.

Persistently disruptive behaviour was also the main reason for pupils being expelled from school accounting for almost a third of cases in Yorkshire. The DfE figures show 90 of 300 pupils were excluded for this reason.

Fifty more were expelled for attacking a pupil and another 50 were removed for assaulting staff.

Nationally the figures show that primary school children are being suspended from school increasingly often for assaulting their teachers and classmates.

Around 89 youngsters aged between five and 11 were ordered out of the classroom each day across the country because of the problem in 2010/11.

In total, 850 children of all ages were given fixed-term expulsions every day for assaulting or verbally abusing their classmates and teachers, and almost 11 pupils a day were permanently excluded for verbal or physical attacks.

The figures revealed yesterday by the Department for Education suggest the situation in primary schools is worsening.

Primary age pupils were suspended 9,160 times in 2010/11 for physically assaulting another child, up from 9,030 occasions the previous year. They were also given fixed exclusions on 7,830 occasions for attacking a member of staff, an extra 600 times, compared with 7,230 in 2009/10.

In contrast, suspensions for attacks on pupils and staff by secondary school pupils have fallen.

The latest figures also show that rising numbers of young children are being suspended on at least one occasion.

In total, 10,090 children up to the age of eight were given one or more fixed suspensions in 2010/11, compared with around 9,520 the year before.

The rise in primary-age pupils being suspended for physically assaulting classmates and school staff is likely to fuel concerns that younger children are becoming more aggressive.

Earlier this year, Alison Sherratt, junior vice-president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), suggested that violent and addictive computer games are making children more aggressive and luring youngsters into a fantasy world

A DfE spokesman said: “One of the Government’s key priorities is to improve behaviour in the classroom.

“We have given teachers more powers to ensure the balance of authority lies with the adult rather than the child and given head teachers more discretion about when to expel a persistently disruptive pupil.”