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'Thousands of rowdy pupils are allowed back after appeals'

Sunday Mirror

Situations where violent pupils are reinstated in schools are very distressing for the teachers involved. Our page 3 report makes this clear. Even though St Peter's Junior in Raunds, Northamptonshire, was not eventually forced to take back a rowdy pupil, the legal battle was enough to to cause its governors to resign en masse and its headteacher to take long-term sick leave.

But it is extremely misleading to suggest that this happens in "thousands" of cases. As we reported last week, the latest available figures show that there were 9,170 permanent exclusions in 2005-06, of which 1,060 led to appeals. Of these, 240 were decided in favour of the parent, of which only 130 led to the reinstatement of the pupil.

So in what proportion of cases did appeals lead to reinstatement? Just 1.41 per cent. We do not know how many of those pupils were "rowdy" or had been expelled for other offences, such as breaking their school's drug policy.

The Sunday Mirror claimed that heads are "reluctant to expel pupils permanently in case they have to take them back". They should not be.

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