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Physical attacks by primary school pupils on staff lead to 70 suspensions


08/07/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

Physical attacks by primary pupils on school staff led to 70 suspensions, new figures show.

Assaults on teachers, classroom assistants and other workers accounted for almost one third of the total primary suspensions during the 2006-07 school year.

A detailed breakdown is not available because the Data Protection Act forbids the release of information that could help identify any individual pupil.

The actual number of suspensions broken down by each assembly constituency could be revealed only if there were more than five such incidents.

Schools in east Belfast clocked up the most suspensions with 14 followed by west Tyrone with 13 and south Antrim with six.

Newry and Armagh was the only constituency in which there were no suspensions.

All other constituencies recorded five or fewer.

These statistics relate to the number of occasions in which pupils were suspended and not the number of individual pupils suspended.

There were a further 196 suspensions for physical attacks in secondary schools, according to figures released in response to an assembly question by Alastair Ross, a DUP assembly member in east Antrim.

The Foyle constituency recorded 32 suspensions, the highest number.

This was followed by west Belfast with 21 and north Belfast and east Antrim with 17 each.

Unions say hundreds of teachers are punched, kicked and bitten by unruly children each year but very few assaults lead to permanent exclusion.

Almost every child disciplined in the past few years for lashing out at school staff has been allowed to return to class.

Teachers have said many attacks are not recorded properly.



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