School ban on 4000 unruly pupils

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ALMOST 4.000 Sheffield secondary pupils were suspended from classes during 2009-10 - with more than a quarter thrown out of school for physically or verbally abusing staff.

New Government figures show on average 20 secondary school pupils are given fixed term exclusions on every school day of the year - affecting 13 per cent of all pupils.

The number of suspensions has shot up by more than 600 compared to the previous year, with violent incidents also showing an increase.

City education chiefs are also concerned that the number of black pupils suspended is one of the highest in the country.

A total of 340 students were temporarily excluded from classes, almost one in four of all the city’s black pupils - 23.5 per cent.

A brighter spot is that permanent exclusions from school are now relatively rare - there were only 10 such cases in Sheffield in the school year ending last summer, compared with 40 in Doncaster.

A full breakdown of the suspension figures reveals a catalogue of behaviour problems which schools are dealing with on a daily basis.

Of the 3,960 fixed term exclusions recorded by Sheffield’s 27 secondary schools:

n 814 were for physical assaults on a fellow pupil

n 113 were for physical assault on adults

n 126 were for threatening behaviour towards a pupil

n 978 were for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour towards adults.

A general category of ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’ accounted for 774 cases, while 52 pupils were suspended for bullying.

A total of 38 pupils were suspended for racist abuse, 29 for sexual misconduct, 54 for drugs and alcohol offences, 65 for theft and 63 for damage to property.

Statistics for the city’s special schools reveals that more than one in four students were given temporary exclusions during 2009-10 - more than 26 per cent.

Sheffield’s executive director of children’s services Dr Sonia Sharp said: “We are pleased that permanent exclusions of pupils in this city are very rare.

“In 2009/10, 10 pupils were permanently excluded – none of these were from a black minorty ethnic background.

“We work rigorously with schools to support them, to manage behaviour effectively with the aim of reducing the number of fixed term exclusion incidents that occur. “Work is ongoing with schools to improve matters further and in particular to address the disproportionate exclusion of pupils from some BME backgrounds.”

Elsewhere in the county Doncaster has the highest percentage of suspended students, just under 16 per cent with 3,275 cases - almost double the national average of 8.5 per cent and one of the highest in the country.

Doncaster’s children’s services director Chris Pratt said: “We recognise and are concerned by the number of fixed-term exclusions in Doncaster’s secondary schools. We have carried out a fundamental review of our behaviour support provision and services and in June introduced a new service model which is far more inclusive and we expect that over time this will reduce the number of young people out of school.”

Rotherham’s total of just over 2,000 represented 10 per cent of the secondary population, while Barnsley’s figure of 513 was easily the lowest in the Yorkshire and Humber region, just under four per cent.

Barnsley’s director of education Judith Harwood also pointed out that not a single pupil was permanently excluded, which she hailed as an ‘outstanding outcome’.