Figures from the Department of Education show that there were 5,740 children expelled ("permanently excluded") from state schools last year. It is equivalent to 0.08% of children. That is a tiny number and does indicate that there are some pretty disruptive children who should be removed from mainstream schooling that are being endlessly temporarily excluded.
The figures also show that the children excluded during Key Stage 4 (when they are aged between 14 and 16) only 1.4% achieve five or more good GCSEs (Grade A* – C including English and Maths.) That is a shocking indictment of the Pupil Referral Units. The national average for is 55.2%.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:
"With thousands of pupils being excluded for persistent disruption and violent or abusive behaviour we remain concerned that weak discipline remains a significant problem in too many of our schools and classrooms. Tackling poor behaviour and raising academic standards are key priorities for the Coalition Government. We will back head teachers in excluding persistently disruptive pupils, which is why we are removing barriers which limit their authority.
We have already introduced a series measures to put head teachers and teachers back in control of the classroom – including clearer guidance and increased search powers. Through the Education Bill we are introducing further measures to strengthen teacher authority and support schools in maintaining good behaviour.
We are also concerned that pupils who are excluded from school not only receive a good education but are also helped to tackle their behaviour problems. This is why we are reforming the alternative education they receive to raise its quality. It is unacceptable that only 1.4 per cent pupils in alternative provision achieve five good GCSEs including English and Maths. We are also trialling a new approach to permanent exclusion and making Free School status available to alternative provision providers in order to open up the sector and raise standards."