Concern at rise in primary exclusions

Biddy Passmore reports on the continuing controversy over the best methods of curbing truancy and bad behaviour

Last year's sharp rise in exclusions from primary schools bodes ill for secondary heads, a teachers' union has warned.

Exclusion figures for 20001, released by the Government last week, show a rise of nearly a fifth in permanent exclusions of primary pupils. They rose to 1,460, including 100 five-year-olds.

This "does not bode well for the future," said Eamonn O'Kane, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers. The union maintains a dossier of 67 of the country's worst-behaved pupils, whom its members refuse to teach.

Secondary exclusions rose by 10 per cent to 7,410. More than four out of five (83 per cent) of those excluded were boys. The exclusion rate of black Caribbean pupils was three times the average.

Just under one in three (31.9 per cent) of the 983 appeals to independent panels went in parents' favour, a slight decrease on the previous year.

The House of Lords is shortly to consider a case where an independent appeal panel ruled that a 16-year-old pupil at Bonus Pastor school in Lewisham, south London, should be reinstated.

After a ballot, members of the NASUWT refused to teach the boy, who had allegedly been violent towards staff and classmates. The Lords is to rule on whether this was a proper trade dispute.

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