Schools ban 4,000 unruly pupils in a year

ALMOST 4,000 Sheffield secondary pupils were suspended from classes during 2009-10 – with more than a quarter excluded for physically or verbally abusing staff.

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

In particular, city education chiefs are 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, representing 23.5% all the city’s black pupils.

However, permanent exclusions from school are now relatively rare – there were only 10 such cases in Sheffield in the school year ending last summer. None were from a black minority ethnic (BME) background.

A breakdown of the latest suspension figures shows 3,960 fixed-term exclusions recorded by Sheffield’s 27 secondary schools.

Of these, 814 were for physical assaults on a fellow pupil, 113 were for physical assault on adults, 126 were for threatening behaviour towards a pupil and 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.

Sheffield’s executive director of children’s services Dr Sonia Sharp said: “We work rigorously with schools to support them, to manage behaviour effectively with the aim of reducing the number of fixe- 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.”