Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Drop in school pupil exclusions

School scene
The majority of school exclusions involve boys and are temporary

The number of exclusions from Scottish schools has dropped by 15% in the past year, according to official statistics.

The Scottish government said there had been 33,917 cases of exclusion in 2008-09. It is the second year running the figures have indicated a decline.

Despite the drop, the number of pupils being excluded from special schools jumped more than 5%, from 1,196 the previous year to 1,260 in 2008-09.

The Scottish government welcomed the overall drop in the figures.

In more than half of all cases pupils were excluded for being persistently disobedient or verbally abusing staff, while in 99% of cases, they were excluded for only a few days.

However, in 87 cases, children were removed from the school register for serious offences such as assault. This figure represents a drop in serious offences of 47% from the previous year.

Boys continue to account for most exclusions, at about 78%.

Schools Minister Keith Brown said the figures showed that work by local councils and schools to tackle poor behaviour was having an impact.

He added: "However, we must not be complacent. While exclusions due to serious issues such as violence or substance misuse are rare, we need to continue to promote positive behaviour in our schools and give targeted support where needed.

"Of course, the best way to reduce exclusions is to ensure learning is exciting, relevant and engaging for young people and I believe this a major factor behind the fall in exclusions during the past two years."

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