Suspension rate rises for Leeds schools

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More than a 1,000 young people were suspended for assaults in Leeds’ schools last year, official figures reveal.

The exclusion figures, which show expulsions and suspensions for academic year 2016/17, reveal that dozens of children faced fixed term exclusions every day on average.

And while this compares favourably with some dramatic rises seen in other parts of Yorkshire, the city’s suspension rate is above the national average and saw an 18 per cent hike year on year.

Leeds City Council has stressed that only a small number of young people had faced permanent exclusion, meanwhile, with the numbers falling to just eight from 26 the year before.

Steve Walker, director of children and families, said: “We are pleased that permanent exclusions in Leeds reduced last year in contrast to a national increase, and that there were no permanent exclusions at all in any of our primary schools.

“We have been working in close partnership with schools where fixed term exclusions had increased over the past year and are now starting to see positive outcomes.”

Nationwide, more than 40 children a day were expelled from England’s state schools during this time period, and there were dramatic rises in parts of Yorkshire which topped the tables for the whole of the country. Unions have warned that increased pressure on support services from local authorities, as well as a school funding crisis, is having an impact in schools.

In Leeds, the main reasons for suspensions were drugs and alcohol related (179) , damage (157), and abuse (1,360), alongside 864 suspensions for assaults against another child in the city’s schools, and 375 against an adult.