THE number of pupils permanently excluded from schools in the county has risen by 70 per cent in the last five years, new figures reveal.

More pupils were permanently excluded for being verbally abusive towards adults, for reasons to do with drugs and alcohol and for being persistently disruptive last year than they were a year earlier.

The number of children excluded for physical assault on a pupil fell from 15 to 11 and the number of children excluded for physically assaulting an adult fell by one to 10.

The total number of pupils permanently excluded for all of the state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in Worcestershire fell from 94 in 2017 to 85 last year but increased from 50 in 2014.

The number of secondary school pupils excluded for a fixed period increased from 1,772 in 2014 to 1,858 last year - with 1,163 pupils excluded on more than one occasion.

The number of children permanently excluded from secondary school also increased by more than 70 per cent from 42 in 2014 to 72 last year.

In 2018, 1,858 students were excluded for a fixed period with 1,163 students excluded more than once.

Between 2013 and 2018, the number of children excluded from primary school for a fixed period increased by 60 per cent from 433 to 697 children. Of those children, 213 were excluded more than once.

Excluded primary and secondary school children missed almost three days on average last year.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “School attendance and ensuring children reach their full potential within education are top priorities for the county council.

"To exclude a child from school, for any period of time is a last resort due to the impact this can have on all members of the school community.

"The most recent figures show children in Worcestershire have lost fewer days per exclusion in comparison to both national and local regional figures in the last year.

"In the last year, the permanent exclusion rate at all school types across the county is better than local regional figures but remain slightly higher than national.

"We will continue to work with members of the school community, to closely examine the reasons behind this, and to incorporate these into future plans going forward.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said teachers often cite pupil behaviour as a reason why they walk away from the profession.

She said: “All schools should have a policy for dealing with violent incidents, and a pupil behaviour policy where teachers feel genuinely supported by school management.

“Cuts to school and local authority budgets, however, mean many support services such as behavioural specialists, who used to help in schools, have gone."