SHOCKING RISE IN ATTACKS ON TEACHERS
SHOCKING new figures show a huge rise in the number of Manchester primary pupils receiving temporary suspensions for lashing out at a member of staff.
There were 210 short-term exclusions for assault at state-funded primaries in Manchester in 2015/16 – a record number.
This was up from 120 in 2014/15, an increase of 75 per cent in a year, and was the highest number since at least 2006/07.
In addition, 12 pupils in Manchester were permanently excluded for attacking an adult.
And the figures also revealed primary school pupils in Salford are the most likely in England to be expelled for attacking teachers.
The figures reveal there were 22 permanent exclusions from statefunded primaries across Salford in 2015/16 – the equivalent of nine in every 10,000 pupils.
Of those, four pupils were kicked out of school for attacks on adults.
Across England, the number of permanent exclusions for all reasons in state-funded primary, secondary and special schools increased from 5,795 in 2014/15 to 6,685 in 2015/16.
Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “This is a concerning trend and the Department for Education must give serious and honest consideration of what is driving these rising numbers of exclusions.
“NUT members tell us that as the curriculum gets narrower and children’s experience of school is ever more focused on preparation for tests and exams, more students are becoming disengaged from school, which in turn leads to problems with behaviour and mental health problems.”
The figures don’t take into account a huge rise in primary school pupil numbers over ten years. Manchester council has introduced more than 10,000 additional places in primary schools since 2010/11.
Thresholds for recording and reporting incidents – and what constitutes an attack on a teacher leading to suspensions and expulsions – may well have changed over ten years too.
In 2015/16, there were at least 70 permanent exclusions of primary school pupils across Greater Manchester, and 3,019 fixed-term exclusions.
Coun Lisa Stone, lead member for children’s and young people’s services at Salford council, said permanent exclusion was a ‘last resort’ and not taken lightly. “We are talking about very vulnerable young children who are likely to have complex social, emotional and behavioural needs,” she said. “If exclusion is considered the right response, we provide intensive support for the child and make sure we get them back into mainstream school as quickly as possible. We have a strong track record of doing this effectively.”
A spokesman for Manchester council said: “All schools want all of their pupils to achieve their full potential, and staying in school is the best way of making sure of this.
“They therefore work very hard to put appropriate interventions in place to reduce the need for permanent exclusions, which are a last resort and do little to benefit the pupil. This includes the use of fixed-term exclusions to address a wide range of inappropriate pupil behaviour.”