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More excluded pupils return

LATEST Scottish Executive figures show there have been some inroads into the incidence of pupils excluded from school. Only 322 of 38,656 exclusions were permanent in 2000-01, an 11 per cent fall. The decrease overall is 0.3 per cent.

Temporary exclusions involved 21,598 pupils, of whom 60 per cent were excluded only once.

Nicol Stephen, Deputy Education Minister, welcomed the news and repeated the Executive's commitment to a twin-track approach - removing disruptive pupils from the classroom while investing pound;10 million to ensure they remain in school.

Of all exclusions, 24 per cent were for "persistent or general disobedience", 17 per cent for verbal abuse of staff and 13 per cent for physical abuse of pupils.

The figures also show a close correlation between exclusion and disadvantage: 45 per cent of all cases involved children entitled to free school meals, 4 per cent involved those with a record of needs and 4 per cent were children in care.

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