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Exclusions still on the increase

Tougher appeals procedures mean fewer exclusion rulings are being overturned, reports Michael Shaw.

EXCLUSIONS have risen for the second year running after calls from ministers for tougher action against disruptive pupils.

Permanent exclusions rose by 4 per cent during 200102 to 9,540, according to the Department for Education and Skills.

The increase followed the Government's decision to drop targets for exclusions in 2001. At the start of 2002, the then education secretary Estelle Morris announced plans to toughen appeals panels and make bullying and carrying weapons reasons why children could be excluded after one offence.

While the number of appeals increased last year to 1,125, the proportion of panels which overturned exclusions dropped from 32 per cent to 24 per cent.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "The fact that only 270 pupils have been reinstated shows that the climate is now very different. Appeals panels are no longer using bizarre justifications to overturn exclusions."

The DfES figures showed that: l Boys accounted for eight out of 10 excluded students.

* Pupils with special educational needs were four times more likely to be excluded than others.

* Black Caribbean pupils were three times more likely to be excluded than white pupils and 14 times more likely than Indian students.

* Twenty four-year-olds were excluded within this period.

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