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Exclusions linked to street crime

Education Secretary Gillian Shephard is to be asked to overhaul her department's policy on exclusions after Sir Paul Condon, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, revealed that most young street criminals arrested in London have been ejected from their schools.

The commissioner was speaking last week at a private meeting in London organised by the Runnymede Trust, a charity that monitors race relations.

The meeting, planned for last summer but postponed because of the row over Sir Paul Condon's leaked letter implying most muggers were black, was attended by senior police officers, ethnic minority leaders and representatives of all government departments, except the Department for Education and Employment.

Robin Richardson, director of the trust, said: "We were very disappointed the DFEE was unable to send a representative."

Mr Richardson said Mrs Shephard will receive a "statement of concern" within the next three weeks asking her to address the "terrible dearth of factual information on exclusions". He said: "There is no data at all on temporary exclusions and data on permanent exclusions is inadequate because it is not ethnically based."

The report will also ask for an investigation into how the descent into criminality can be nipped in the bud at school at an early age.

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