Dozens are expelled from referral units

26th August 2005 at 01:00
Thirty-five pupils a year are excluded from units set up to cope with pupils too disruptive for mainstream schools, official figures reveal.

Another 2,880 were suspended from pupil referral units, Jacqui Smith, schools minister, said.

The National Organisation for Pupil Referral Units said pupils were excluded only for the worst offences such as assaulting a pupil or staff member, bringing in weapons or drug-related incidents. Those excluded are normally educated at home or given a place at a residential special school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Annie Humphries, past president, admitted that some, particularly older, pupils fall out of the education system. "It is regrettable but it does happen," she said. She said exclusion levels were "about what I would expect".

London and the South-east - with 10 each - were the regions with the highest numbers of permanent exclusions. Kent accounted for half of pupils excluded from PRUs in the South East.

The units aim to integrate children back into the mainstream.

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