The Department for Education has published annual school exclusion statistics for the 2009/10 academic year, revealing that 5,740 permanent exclusions were made at primary, secondary and special schools during the period.
While some schools and teaching jobs specialise in dealing with disruptive children, most schools were also forced to resort to making fixed-period exclusions in cases where permanent expulsion was deemed too severe.
Altogether, there were 279,260 fixed-period exclusions at state-funded secondary schools, 27,210 at primary schools and 14,910 at special schools.
The average length of these suspensions was 2.5 days for secondary school pupils and 2.1 days for those in primary school.
A breakdown by gender indicated that boys are four times more likely to be permanently excluded than girls and three times more likely to be suspended.
The figures also indicated that pupils with special educational needs (SEN) are eight times as likely to be expelled as those without SEN.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said that thousands of students are being excluded as a result of "persistent disruption and violent or abusive behaviour".
He added that tackling poor behaviour and raising academic standards are two of the government's key goals in education.
"We have already introduced a series measures to put head teachers and teachers back in control of the classroom – including clearer guidance and increased search powers. Through the Education Bill we are introducing further measures to strengthen teacher authority and support schools in maintaining good behaviour," the minister said.
The government's reforms on discipline in schools were published earlier this month and entailed people in teaching jobs being given clearer guidance on how they can exert authority in the classroom.
Guidance, slashed from 600 pages to 52, confirmed that schools should not have a "no touch" policy as there are instances where it is desirable for a primary or secondary teacher to touch a student, such as when dealing with accidents or teaching a musical instrument.
It also noted that teachers have legal power to use reasonable force to remove a pupil who is disrupting a class and heads can search for a number of items including alcohol, illegal drugs and stolen property without consent.
Posted by Tim Colman