Pupil behaviour gets more violent

Primary school children are being suspended from school increasingly often for assaulting their teachers and classmates, according to official figures.

Around 89 youngsters aged between five and 11 were ordered out of the classroom each day for these reasons in 2010/11, Department for Education statistics show.

In total, 850 children of all ages are given fixed term expulsions every day for assaulting or verbally abusing their classmates and teachers. And almost 11 pupils are permanently excluded for verbal or physical attacks.

The statistics reveal the state of behaviour in England's schools, and suggest that the situation in primaries is worsening. Primary age pupils were suspended 9,160 times in 2010/11 for physically assaulting another child, up from 9,030 occasions the previous year.

They were also given fixed exclusions on 7,830 occasions for attacking a member of staff, an extra 600 times, compared to 7,230 in 2009/10. This is equivalent to 89 pupils suspended each school day for these reasons.

In comparison, attacks on pupils and staff by secondary school pupils have fallen.

The statistics show that overall, primary, secondary and special school pupils were suspended 161,540 times in 2010/11 for assaulting, or verbally abusing teachers and pupils - the same as 850 pupils a day. This figure includes physical and verbal assaults, threatening behaviour and racist abuse.

Pupils were also expelled on 2,060 occasions for these reasons - the equivalent to almost 11 pupils a day.

A DfE spokesman said: "One of the Government's key priorities is to improve behaviour in the classroom. We have given teachers more powers to ensure the balance of authority lies with the adult rather than the child and given head teachers more discretion about when to expel a persistently disruptive pupil.

"We are also working to improve the quality of education for these children who have been excluded. Being expelled should not mean being condemned to a third-rate education as it so often has in the past."