The Daily Mail reports that new government data points to increased violence in British schools. The trend has even spread to primary schools, where the number of student suspensions due to violence against teachers has surpassed those in secondary schools.
The statistics for 2011 show that 8,030 students were suspended or otherwise sanctioned for violence over the 2010-11 academic year — an increase of 15% over four years. The South East of England is reporting an especially sharp spike, with a 41% increase over the same period.
Yet according to teachers unions, the true number could be even greater due to the fact that teachers are frequently pressured by their heads not to report incidents. This is done in order to preserve a school’s good name and not damage its showing on the country league tables.
‘These figures are extraordinary. It shows an utter lack of discipline for children at a very young age,’ said Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley. ‘It is a sad indictment on the state of our society, the lack of discipline, the lack of respect for authority, and some pretty bad parenting.
‘We’ve got to make sure parents take more responsibility for the actions of the children. And we need a zero-tolerance approach on any assaults on teachers by children or their parents.’
Chris Skidmore, a Tory member of the education select committee, said: ‘It seems shocking that more primary pupils are now being excluded than secondary pupils for attacks against teachers.
Yet the exclusions must continue as long as violence perpetuates against teachers and they are being regularly attacked by their students, the Mail contends — especially if exclusion is one of the only ways that teachers have to combat student misbehavior.
The disciplinary figures were compiled and released by the Department of Education and present a sobering picture of the discipline issues facing UK primary schools today. From 6,790 exclusions recorded during the 2006-07 academic year in primary schools, there was a rise to 8,030 last year.
For the first time, the number of exclusions at primary schools, which cater for children aged between five and 11, has overtaken those in secondary schools, which are for those aged 11 to 18.
Back in 2006/07, there were 9,230 exclusions at state secondaries – 8,560 fixed and 670 permanent.
But by 2010/11, this had declined by more than a third, to 6,060 – 5,730 fixed and 330 permanent.
In addition, there are more than 3,000 expulsions a year from special schools.