Neil Munro reports on the figures behind the changing line on enforcing school discipline
The figures show the usual variations across the country, with exclusions in the west of Scotland running at twice the national average. The Scottish figure of 51 exclusions for every 1,000 pupils contrasts with 109 in Glasgow and 104 in West Dunbartonshire - but only two in Shetland and three in the Western Isles and Orkney.
Glasgow points out that, given the clear link between deprivation and exclusion, its high exclusion rate is not surprising. It also claims that it is making better progress than other authorities since a 2.5 per cent increase in exclusions last year was accompanied by a 2 per cent rise in the secondary school population.
The city now has all 29 secondaries involved in the alternatives to exclusions programme, compared with 24 last year, and figures for this session are showing areduction on the same period last year. Glasgow says it is responding to the problems positively and "the fruits of that response will start to show in our figures for the current year".
By contrast Stirling had the best performance of all the mainland authorities, 138 exclusions involving 100 pupils. The next lowest was Moray with 221 exclusions. Stirling's record represents 11 exclusions for every thousand pupils, compared with a Scottish average of 51.
"We have been gradually reducing the number of exclusions over the last three years with positive behaviour policies, staff training, pupil support and active citizenship," Ann Strang, chair of the children's committee, says.
An emphasis on citizenship "respects children's views and encourages them to accept responsibility for themselves and each other, promoting positive behaviour and further reducing the need for exclusions".