344 schoolchildren a day 'suspended for violence'

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The Independent Online

An average of 344 children a day are suspended from English schools for violence against other pupils.

The figures, published yesterday by the Conservatives, show 65,390 pupils were temporarily excluded for violence against classmates in 2006-07 – a rise of 2,720 on the previous year and equivalent to 344 suspensions per school day. In the London Borough of Southwark, exclusions for violence rose by 110 per cent from 166 to 348 last year. In Hartlepool, the increase was 53 per cent, while in Middlesbrough it was 50 per cent. Exclusions were up more than 10 per cent in greater London, with inner London showing the biggest rise, up 20 per cent to 3,430. Across England, the increase was 4.3 per cent. The Government defended the figures, saying teachers were using "short, sharp shocks" to control pupils. But Michael Gove, the shadow Children's Secretary, said: "This is further evidence of the lack of discipline in our schools."