27/05/2004

Fall in number of pupils excluded from school

The number of permanent school exclusions has fallen by 25% since 1997, according to new figures out today.

The statistics from the Department for Education and Skills found that the number of permanent exclusions had fallen for the first time since 1999/00 to 9,290. Nearly 13,000 pupils were excluded in 1996/97.

Only 1,074 appeals were made against exclusion decisions, down from 1,125 in 2001/02. Appeals panels upheld one in five decisions, the department found.

Education Minister Ivan Lewis paid tribute to the teachers "who are working to ensure our classrooms are free from disruption".

"We are getting the balance right, helping teachers to improve behaviour in the classroom and backing their authority when pupils' behaviour warrants exclusion," he said.

The £470 million Behaviour and Attendance Strategy has introduced several measures to tackle the root causes of exclusions, including: placing 10,000 learning mentors in schools to help pupils overcome behavioural problems; and giving 17,000 children at risk of exclusion intensive support from specialist Behaviour Education Support Teams.

(gmcg)

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