Rise in permanent primary school exclusions

Fight Assault was one of the most common reasons for exclusion

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More children were permanently excluded from primary schools in England last year, 45% of them for physical assault.

In 2011-12 690 were expelled - 80 up on the previous year - 230 for persistent disruptive behaviour, 200 for assaults on adults and 120 for attacking pupils.

At secondary schools, 4,390 pupils were expelled - 20 up on the previous year - 1,050 for physical assault and 1,700 for persistent disruptive behaviour.

The rise follows a steady decline in the numbers and rate over recent years.

With about 8.2m pupils in England's schools, the number of exclusions are are small.

Boys are about three times more likely to receive an exclusion, either temporary or permanent, than girls.

And pupils with a special educational need are about eight times more likely to be excluded than those without.

In September 2012, the government strengthened head teachers' powers over exclusions by replacing the independent appeal panel with a review panel.

The independent appeal panel could overturn decisions to exclude - but the new review panel can only recommend that head teachers take a pupil back.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Heads now have more power than ever before to ensure strong discipline in the classroom.

"We have introduced new search powers, no-notice detentions, and have ensured heads' decisions on expulsions cannot be overruled.

"The government is tackling the causes of exclusion by improving the quality of teaching, raising standards in literacy and numeracy, tackling disadvantage through the pupil premium, overhauling the special educational needs system and making radical improvements to alternative provision."

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the figures made for sombre reading, as exclusions have a huge impact on the life chances of those pupils.

"The rise in permanent exclusions mostly seen in primary school figures underlines the key significance of the early years sector and in early intervention strategies. Sure Start centres were the first casualties in many local funding cuts and it may be the increase in primary school exclusions, which include 60 boys of 4-5 years-of-age, is one of the consequences of this.

"ATL calls for a teacher training and continuing professional development system which better informs teachers about special educational needs (SEN) and inclusive teaching practices."

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