NINETEEN pupils were suspended from schools in Kirklees every week for attacking staff and other children, a new report has revealed.
The shocking Government figures show there were 730 suspensions for physical attacks in 2007/08.
And schools in Kirklees suspended a further 60 pupils each week for other reasons from a total of 3,010 suspensions in 2007/08, the Department for Schools statistics claim.
And, according to Kirklees Council’s own figures, 709 pupils were suspended from school in 2008/09 for assaults, 137 of which were against an adult.
But Kirklees said it had reduced the number of suspensions from 3,021 in 2006/07 to 2,226 in the last school year 2008/09.
A council spokesman added that Kirklees had cut the number of expulsions from 44 in 2007/08 to 30 in 2008/09.
He said: “Head teachers in Kirklees always consider early intervention and alternatives to exclusion prior to excluding pupils.
“Kirklees schools have a wide range of options at their disposal, some of which involve additional support from the local authority.
“What steps are normally taken before exclusion will depend on the school’s behaviour policy and the merits of the individual case and will differ from school to school.
“Alternatives to exclusion can include restorative justice, mediation, a managed move to another school or exclusion within the school.
“Early intervention can involve individual education plans or pastoral support programmes, support from an educational psychologist and/or statutory assessment of special educational needs, pupils being supported in a nurture group or inclusion unit or support from the local authority support service.”
Joint council Cabinet member for schools Clr Cath Harris said the situation was improving.
She said: “The last report I had showed that exclusions were down significantly.
“There’s a lot of work going on in schools, managing youngsters’ behaviour and working with their families to stop them reaching the point where this sort of thing happens.”
Her fellow Cabinet member for schools Clr Ken Smith added: “I don’t think the situation in Kirklees is worse than in other parts of West Yorkshire.
“We support our schools in the actions they take to improve pupil behaviour and protect children.”
English state schools made a total of 383,830 suspensions in 2007/08, 89,200 of which were for physical attacks.
Conservative shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove said: “The number of suspensions from school is truly shocking, and there has been a rise in the last few years as teachers are increasingly powerless to permanently exclude seriously disruptive or violent children.
“It’s simply not acceptable that teachers have to put up with bad behaviour when they’re trying to teach. That’s why we want to give them more powers to keep order in the classroom.”