Suspensions of primary school children in Huddersfield and Kirklees are at their highest level in 10 years, with those for assaults against teachers at record levels.

Primary pupils in the area were suspended on 797 occasions in 2016/17, the highest number since at least 2006/07. This was a rise of nearly half (46%) from 2015/16, when 545 pupils received fixed-term exclusions, according to figures released this morning by the Department for Education.

The area saw pupils excluded at a rate of 199 suspensions per 10,000 pupils, with 298 pupils suspended on more than one occasion during the
year.

The number of suspensions given to primary pupils in Kirklees for attacking adults in the school rose to its highest level in at least a decade, with 266 incidences in 2016/17, up from 150 in 2015/16.

In 2016/17, there were 2,929 fixed term exclusions of secondary school pupils in Kirklees, a 2% rise from 2,864 in 2015/16, and 1.6 times
higher than the number five years before in 2012/13. The rate of suspensions is equivalent to one for every nine pupils (1,110 per 10,000
pupils).

A teaching body expressed concerns that the rise in exclusions, which was seen across England, was due to the school funding crisis and cuts to local children’s services meaning less support for pupils.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We are extremely concerned that this increase in exclusions is a result of the school funding crisis and cuts to local children’s services.

“Schools have had to cut back on the individual support they are able to give students making it more difficult to provide early intervention and prevent behavioural problems from escalating. At the same time council support services for vulnerable families have been cut back meaning that schools are having to pick up the pieces.

“Schools only exclude pupils as a last resort and when all other avenues have been exhausted. The government needs to provide the funding that is necessary to provide support at an early stage.”

School standards minister Nick Gibb said schools should only use permanent exclusions "as a last resort", but that the Government supports teachers who take "proportionate" steps to ensure good behaviour.