More primary pupils excluded for assault

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The number of primary pupils excluded from schools in West Sussex for assaults against adults has risen.

Figures from the Department for Education (DfE) showed 292 fixed-term exclusions were handed out to children in 2013/14 for assaults against teachers, staff and other adults.

It represented a rise of almost 60 cases compared to 2011/12. Permanent exclusions for the same offence dropped from eight to five over the same period.

Other reasons for the exclusions ranged from verbal or physical abuse to bullying and theft.

The figures showed that, in the county’s primary schools, persistent disruptive behaviour came top of the list, with 820 children temporarily excluded in 2013/14 – a drop of 400 since 2011/12 – and 44 permanently.

There was a sharp drop in the number of primary age youngsters excluded for drug or alcohol-related offences, though a worrying 78 temporary and eight permanent exclusions were handed out in 2013/14.

Exclusions for bullying, racial abuse and sexual misconduct also fell, with 23 fixed-term exclusions handed out for bullying in 2013/14 compared to 50 in 2011/12.

Fixed-term exclusions for racist abuse fell from 60 to 49 over the same period, and sexual misconduct fell from 41 to 24. There were no permanent exclusions for any of these offences.

In total, 1,154 days of primary school education were lost to fixed-term exclusions.

When it came to the figures for the county’s secondary schools, exclusions rates have fallen steadily from 3,290 in 2011/12 to 2,170 in 2013/14. Of those, 70 and 50 respectively were permanent exclusions.

As in primary schools, persistent disruptive behaviour was the reason for most exclusions – with 663 fixed-term and 27 permanent – while verbal abuse or threats made against adults was also high – 620 fixed-term and no permanent. Both figures had dropped substantially when compared to 2011/12.

One interesting set of figures showed there were fewer cases of exclusion for bullying, racist abuse and sexual misconduct in secondary schools than there were in primary schools.

A total of 4,327 days of secondary education were lost to exclusions in 2013/14.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said it was reviewing the arrangements for alternative provision which supported pupils who had already been, or were at risk of being, excluded.