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By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley ...
By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley

There were 130 violent attacks on teachers in 2000-01 - the last year for recorded figures - junior education minister Stephen Twigg told the commons.

The revelation surprised Conservative MPs Desmond Swayne, New Forest West, and Graham Brady, Altrincham and Sale West. Both said that when they had tabled questions for written answer, the reply had been that such information was not collected centrally.

Mr Twigg said that the figures were collected by the Health and Safety Executive.

He said the government were determined to ensure that schools were places where staff and students learn and work free from violence. It had always made clear that when necessary head teachers could permanently exclude violent pupils. It had published detailed guidance on preventing bullying and, this week, had published a 'toolkit' for schools on legal remedies against violent adults, and it would extend parenting orders to cover parents of pupils excluded for violence.

Also this week, said Mr Twigg, the government announced its agreement to the 34 local plans implementing and spending the£66m package announced in the Budget to tackle issues of pupil behaviour, especially in parts of the country where there are high levels of street crime and pupil truancy.

'We will evaluate police involvement in schools. The project has received a very positive response from schools, the police and LEAs, and I look forward to reporting back to the house as it progresses', he added.

Mr Brady said the biggest problem schools faced was that when they excluded violent pupils, all too often the exclusion was overturned on appeal. He asked the government to issue 'robust' guidance to appeals panels telling them they must not overturn an exclusion when a pupil was violent.

Mr Twigg said it would maintain a review of the guidance sent to schools. However, he added: One of our objectives is to ensure that authorities make full-time education places available to young people who are excluded from school, because that has not always been the case in the past'.

Hansard 4 July 2002: Column 381-383

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