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383,831 - Number of fixed-term exclusions 200708

The more deprived the area where a primary school is located, the higher the percentage of pupils likely to be excluded for a fixed-term period.

Schools in the 10 per cent least deprived areas excluded 0.34 per cent of their school population in the 200708 academic year compared with 1.86 per cent in the 10 per cent of schools in the most deprived areas.

This means that there were just 1,230 exclusions in the 1,507 least deprived schools, but 8,920 exclusions in the most deprived. There was a similar, but less distinct, pattern in the secondary and special school sectors, perhaps because large schools serve a wider catchment area.

The 200708 school year also saw the smallest number of permanent exclusions across all schools since before 199798, when the total was 12,300: the most recent figure is 8,130. The percentage of the school population permanently excluded dropped from 0.16 in 199798 to 0.11 in 200708. The decline is undoubtedly due to the focus on this group of pupils as part of the drive to make schools safer.

Four categories dominate the reasons given for fixed-term exclusions. At the top is persistent disruptive behaviour. This accounts for nearly 30 per cent of exclusions in the primary sector and more than 22 per cent in secondaries. The second most common reason is verbal abuse or threatening behaviour towards an adult. The other two categories are physical assaults against a pupil and, in secondaries, the catch-all "other".

John Howson is a director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.

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