90 primary pupils sent home a day for attacks in class: Shocking figures reveal rising school violence
- Youngsters suspended for racial abuse, physical assault and threatening behaviour
- Nearly 300 pupils aged 11 and under for violence and handed out almost 17,000 suspensions
- ‘Violent computer games and poor parenting are making children more aggressive’
- Pupils eligible for free school meals four times more likely to be expelled than those who are not
By Laura Clark
A Rising tide of violent indiscipline in primary schools was laid bare yesterday.
Official figures revealed that 90 children are sent home every day for attacking teachers or classmates.
And the worst deterioration in behaviour is being seen in the most affluent parts of the country. Teachers blamed parents for failing to equip children with the social skills they need to cope in the classroom.
Teachers now face attacks from primary school pupils, who are regularly excluded for violent and threatening behaviour (posed by model)
Last year primary schools expelled nearly 300 pupils aged 11 and under for violence and handed out almost 17,000 suspensions. This means that on any given school day in 2010/11, 90 pupils were ordered out of school for attacking a member of staff or fellow pupil.
Primaries were forced to bar pupils more than 10,000 times for persistent disruption in lessons and 6,390 times for verbal abuse.
Hundreds more pupils were sent home for other serious breaches of school rules such as bullying, racist abuse, sexual misconduct, theft, drugs or alcohol offences and damage to property.
Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said many children are unprepared for school
Figures issued by the Department for Education shows that while the number of secondary pupils being suspended or expelled is falling, there is a worsening picture at primary level – especially in the most affluent parts of the country.
The number of suspensions has increased most sharply in the country’s wealthiest areas.
The trend follows claims from teachers that spoilt middle-class children are just as likely to challenge authority at school.
Earlier this year, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: ‘A minority of children are very aware of their rights, have a total disregard of school rules and are rather less aware of their responsibility for their own learning and how to show respect to staff and other students.
‘This can apply as much to over-indulged middle class children as those from challenging families.’
The latest data emerged days after a psychologist warned that parents who are afraid to discipline their children are creating an unruly generation. Dr Tanya Byron, who featured in BBC TV’s The House of Tiny Tearaways, described the rise of the ‘friend-parent’ who tries to be the child’s equal rather than an authority figure.
Teachers’ leaders said yesterday that a lack of parental support was to blame for discipline problems.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said a recent survey had shown that two-thirds of teachers highlighted poor support from parents.
‘Sending children to school on time, with basic equipment and clear expectations of how they are expected to behave is a critical part of the job of all parents,’ she said.
‘Parents must understand that their responsibility for their child’s behaviour does not end at the school gate.’
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: ‘Some children are arriving unprepared for what it means to be in a large group of people.’
The figures show that boys are three times more likely to be suspended or expelled than girls.
Ruling the school: Up to 42 primary pupils are sent home every day for assaults on teachers (pictured posed by models)
The average suspension was for 2.4 days but 2,900 lasted more than two weeks.
The fall in numbers being barred from lessons in secondary schools is partly due to schools’ increasing use of unofficial exclusions – or ‘managed moves’ – which transfer disruptive pupils to other secondaries.
Primary pupils perpetrate more assaults on teachers than secondary. Some 42 primary pupils are sent home every day for assaults on teachers, compared with 32 secondary pupils.
The Department for Education said the figures justified Coalition moves to strengthen teachers’ powers to keep order in the classroom.
Breaking the rules: Primaries were forced to bar pupils more than 10,000 times for persistent disruption in lessons (Posed by models)
THE SHOCKING STATISTICS ABOUT SCHOOLCHILDREN
- Boys are around three times more likely to be expelled or suspended than girls;
- Pupils who are eligible for free school meals – a key measure of poverty – are nearly four times more likely to be expelled than those who are not eligible for the dinners, and around three times more likely to be suspended;
- Rising numbers of parents are winning appeals against a child’s permanent exclusion. There were 480 appeals lodged in 2010/11, a fall of 8.1 per cent. Of the cases heard, 26.5 per cent were determined in favour of the parent, compared to 24.1 per cent the year before;
- In total, there were 5,080 permanent expulsions in 2010/11, a fall of 11.5 per cent;
- There were 324,110 suspensions, a decrease of 2.2%.
- Most common reason for an exclusion was persistent disruptive behaviour, which accounted for 33.7 per cent of expulsions and 24.8 per cent of suspensions.