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GOVERNMENT STATISTICS SHOW AN 11% PERMANENT EXCLUSION INCREASE - TEACHING UNIONS COMMENT

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Commenting on today's exclusion ...
Commenting on today's exclusion figures , Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

'It comes as no surprise to me that permanent exclusions have gone up.

'That increase is simply an indicator of the problems schools face from a minority of children whose behaviour is totally unacceptable. I urge the secretary of state to acknowledge that in both primary and secondary schools decisions on permanent exclusions are being taken by headteachers with proper justification.

'No-one must forget that children and young people have a right to learn without having their safety and enthusiasm undermined by the behaviour of a few.

'As our recent survey on unacceptable pupil behaviour confirmed 80% of teachers think that pupil behaviour has worsened in the last few years.

'Government must make sure that schools receive the staffing, support and training which is necessary to tackle unacceptable pupil behaviour and that those who are excluded receive the education their needs demand, whether in units or special schools.'

National Association of Head Teachers general secretary David Hart commented:

'Exclusion figures reflect the reality of rising levels of pupil violence, disruption and abuse, they demonstrate the futility of attempts to drive down exclusions artificially.

'Nobody should rejoice at today's figures. But it is far better for heads to be strongly supported in their defence of decent standards of behaviour, than to be subjected to ridiculously artificial and damaging reduction targets that previously served for government policy on exclusions.'

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) broadly welcomed the news today that schools are finding it easier to exclude unruly pupils.

Julie Grant, president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said:

'Forcing teachers to keep disruptive pupils in the classroom inevitably has a negative effect on the rest of the class and bad behaviour is driving good teachers out of the profession. The government has finally recognised that teachers need support in dealing with unruly pupils.

'But it is essential that all excluded pupils receive full time education in properly staffed special units otherwise we are simply shifting the problem out onto the streets.'

At its annual conference at Easter the association called for ring-fenced funding for local education authorities to set up and run these units.

Julie Grant said:

'I can think of nothing better for Gordon Brown to support in his Spending Review in July. This matter is at the heart of a number of the government's most serious problems- particularly teacher shortages and the so-called yob culture.'

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