School Expulsions Hit Five-Year High; CLASSROOM CHAOS AS 10,000 CHILDREN ARE EJECTED

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Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

SCHOOLS are expelling more pupils as the crackdown on bad behaviour begins to bite, official figures show today.

Expulsion rates climbed six per cent last year to their highest level for five years.

But the shocking extent of classroom chaos is laid bare by data showing that more than 130,000 children - equivalent to about five per state school - were suspended for bad behaviour at least once in 2003-4.

Four out of 10 suspensions and expulsions were for assaulting other pupils or threatening behaviour and verbal abuse of adults.

Many more children will have received detentions or been sent to in-school "cooler" rooms, known as Learning Support Units, as most heads use suspension and expulsion as sparingly as possible.

Last year 9,880 children were expelled and 9,290 were ejected in 2002-3.

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has admitted " lowlevel" disruption is getting worse and has set up an expert panel to advise her on whether new measures, such as a national behaviour code, are needed.

Spring term sees disruption peak, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) figures show. Black and mixed-race pupils are being expelled at about twice the rate of white pupils. …