Dramatic drop in Scottish pupils being excluded from school

The number of Scotland's poorest pupils being suspended from school has dropped by nearly two thirds in the past 10 years, according to the latest official statistics.

Exclusions of pupils from Scottish schools have dropped over the past decade

In 2018-19, 35.4 pupils per 1,000 in the poorest 20 per cent were temporarily excluded from Scotland's schools, compared to 90.7 per 1,000 in the same publication from 2009-10 - a fall of 60 per cent over the decade.

The suspension rate for the 20 per cent of most affluent students also dropped same period, from 12.4 to 8.2.

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Since the current SNP-led Scottish Government was elected in 2007 the total number of exclusions from schools has fallen from 39,717 in 2007-08 to 14,990 in 2018-19.

In the most recent year of reporting, just three pupils were permanently removed from school rolls, compared to 164 in 2007-08.

Local authorities are responsible for setting parameters for exclusion, with offences such as attacks on pupils or staff, theft and the threat of sexual violence recorded by the Scottish Government.

Assaults were by far the highest cause of pupil suspension, with 2,669 resulting from attacks without a weapon on another pupil and 1,344 on members of staff.

In the most recent biennial report North Lanarkshire was the local authority where the most students were excluded, at 1,714.

Schools in Aberdeen excluded the highest proportion of their students, with 1,221 pupils amounting to 52.9 per 1,000.

Clackmannanshire schools were the lowest, with just eight pupils being excluded during 2018-19.

Across different stages of schooling, pupils in S3 accounted for the most exclusions during the year, with 3,502.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "This is a very welcome drop in the level of exclusions among some of the poorest pupils in Scotland.

"We have been clear that schools and local authorities need to do all they can to ensure all children and young people are included, engaged and involved in their education - and that exclusion should be the last resort.

"These figures show that our preventative approaches, including good behaviour management and behaviour support, as well as restorative and nurture approaches, are working as part of our wider strategy to close the attainment gap."

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