More than 1,000 incidents were noted in special schools, marginally fewer than in primaries where a substantial number of incidents involved special needs pupils.
Figures for 80 per cent of schools show a steep rise in the number of recorded incidents, although ministers suggest this is merely a reflection of beter reporting methods by schools and councils.
Some 3,083, incidents were recorded in 1999-2000, with 36 per cent in primaries, 34 per cent in special schools and 29 per cent in secondaries.
Half the incidents took place in the classroom and 97 per cent in school hours. Just over 60 per cent of incidents involved physical violence and of those 21 per cent also involved verbal abuse. Some 6 per cent of incidents were referred to the police while 7 per cent involved parents.