Expulsions from primary schools soar

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More than 1,000 children are expelled from primary school every year, new figures show.

In data released under the Freedom of Information Act, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) figures showed that 43,720 primary school children were given "fixed term exclusions" in the school year 2004/05, up by 2,420 from 2003/04.

Racist abuse, sexual misconduct and drug and alcohol-related incidents were among the reasons for expulsions and suspensions and the figures also show that boys are much more likely to be expelled or suspended than girls.

In 2004/05 42,140 boys were suspended compared to only 4,220 of their female classmates.

The number of under-fives permanently excluded has tripled to 60 children compared to the 20 pupils in 2003/04.

However a spokesperson for the DfES has responded to the statistics, saying the "examples of extreme behaviour" were only a "miniscule proportion of the three-and-a-half million children in our primary schools".

"We support heads in taking the tough decisions to exclude and have given them the powers they need to do so when necessary," the spokesperson added, stressing the role of parents in a child's good behaviour.

"Parents also have a vital role to play, especially with young children, and it is crucial that they work with schools to prevent bad behaviour. From September heads will be able to request parenting orders where parents simply refuse to play their part."

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