There were 36,496 exclusions from all schools, a 3 per cent fall over the previous year. Only in special schools are numbers rising, as they have been over the past four years. Of the total, 1,310 were from the special sector.
Figures confirm that pupils are far more likely to be excluded if they are entitled to free meals, hold a record of need or are looked after by the local authority.
Exclusions rise steadily throughout the primary years and escalate in the first two years of secondary before peaking in S3, when 10,449 pupils were ejected in 2002-03. They tend to fall off in S4 and are down to just 212 by S6. Eighty-five per cent of all exclusions are from secondaries.
Repeat offenders are common, with just over 20,000 pupils racking up just over 36,000 exclusions. Fifty-one pupils were temporarily excluded 10 times or more.
Analysis shows that 23 per cent were excluded for general or persistent disobedience, 18 per cent for verbal abuse of staff and 13 per cent for physical abuse of pupils.