Class exclusions among UK worst

SCHOOLS across the borough have among the highest rates of pupil suspensions in the country, shocking new figures have revealed.

The area has the highest percentage of youngsters suspended from school in South Yorkshire - 3,275 cases in 2009-10, or just under 16 per cent.

The figure is almost double the national average of 8.5 per cent and one of the highest in the country.

And more than a fifth of those suspended from classes during 2009-10 were thrown out of school for physically or verbally abusing staff.

A full breakdown of the suspension figures reveals a catalogue of behaviour problems being dealt with by schools on a daily basis.

Of the 3,275 fixed-term exclusions recorded by the borough’s 17 secondary schools:

■ 489 were for physical assaults on a fellow pupil

■ 60 were for physical assaults on adults

■ 95 were for threatening behaviour towards a pupil

■ 639 were for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour towards adults.

A general category of ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’ accounted for 1,244 cases, while 29 pupils were suspended for bullying. A total of 20 pupils were suspended for racist abuse, 30 for sexual misconduct, 45 for drugs and alcohol offences, 44 for theft and 74 for damage to property. There were 40 permanent exclusions.

Children’s services director Chris Pratt said: “We recognise and are concerned by the number of fixed-term exclusions in secondary schools.

“The number of permanent exclusions is, however, in line with the national average.

“We have carried out a fundamental review of our behaviour support provision and services.

“We expect over time this will reduce the number of young people out of school.”