Scandal of hundreds of Derbyshire pupils excluded for assaulting teachers

Assaults on teachers.
Assaults on teachers.

Schools in Derbyshire excluded hundreds of pupils for assaulting adults last year, figures have revealed.

Schools in Derbyshire excluded hundreds of pupils for assaulting adults last year, figures have revealed.

Teaching unions say government cuts to education funding have left schools less able to help children with challenging behaviour before it escalates.

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Department for Education data shows that Derbyshire’s schools excluded students 378 times for assaulting adults in 2017-18, a rise from 326 the previous year.

Of these, 360 were temporary exclusions and 18 were permanent.

Physical assault can mean a pupil wounding, obstructing and jostling, or behaving violently towards an adult.

The figures include assaults by children at state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in the area.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said teachers often cite pupil behaviour as a reason why they walk away from the profession.

She added: “All schools should have a policy for dealing with violent incidents, and a pupil behaviour policy where teachers feel genuinely supported by school management.

“Cuts to school and local authority budgets, however, mean many support services such as behavioural specialists, who used to help in schools, have gone.”

Derbyshire schools excluded pupils 5,079 times in 2017-18 – 177 of these were permanent.
This was a four per cent inncrease on the previous year, when they handed out 4,878.

The rise in exclusions in Derbyshire reflects the trend across England, where the total rose by 7% to 419,000.

General secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said school leaders have a duty to keep their staff and pupils safe.

He added: “Schools are working hard to avoid having to exclude pupils, but the Government must do more to back them up, with an improved level of funding for education and investment

in local services, which provide support to vulnerable families and children.”
Exclusions have become a hot topic after fears some schools are off-rolling, through which pupils are removed from their register without a permanent exclusion, possibly to improve

average exam results.
A government review published earlier this year vowed to make schools more accountable for pupils they remove.

A DfE spokesperson said schools have a duty to protect pupils and staff, and added that the department will continue to back leaders in using permanent exclusion as a last resort.