New figures show that the number of pupils given permanent and fixed-period exclusions from schools in England fell in 2010/11.
Published by the Department for Education today (July 25th), the statistics reveal that there were 5,080 permanent exclusions from state-funded primary, state-funded secondary and all special schools in 2010/11, down from 5,740 in 2009/10.
Also in 2010/11, there were 271,980 fixed-period exclusions from state-funded secondary schools, 37,790 from state-funded primary schools and 14,340 from special schools.
This compares to 279,260 fixed-period exclusions from state funded secondary schools, 37,210 from primary schools and 14,910 from special schools in 2009/10.
Children's commissioner for England Maggie Atkinson welcomed the reduction in exclusions.
"Permanent exclusion has a negative effect on a child's life for far longer than the stage immediately after exclusion," she said.
However, Ms Atkinson added that she was concerned that particular groups of students, such as those with a statement of special educational needs (SEN), are making up a large percentage of exclusions.
SEN pupils for instance are around nine times more likely to be permanently excluded than those without a statement of SEN.
"My School Exclusions Inquiry … will challenge policymakers, parents, school and sector leaders to practise what the best schools are doing to ensure that children at risk of being excluded are identified early; they do not miss out on their education and are taught in the most appropriate environment for their needs," she said.
The commissioner's words highlight the important role those in teaching jobs can play in making sure that troubled pupils have a successful time in education.
Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, echoed Ms Atkinson's words when he told the BBC that pupils in danger of exclusion need specialist assistance.
"It is good news that exclusions continue to decline. This is driven by spotting young people's behaviour problems early and getting expert support," he said.
Posted by Theo Foulds