583 pupils ‘in dock’ over bad behaviour

School suspensions
School suspensions

A total of 583 pupils were suspended or expelled from schools last year in the Southern Education and Library Board, which includes the Cookstown District.

Reasons for suspension varied from verbal abuse to more serious physical attacks.

The most common reason was recorded as persistent breaking of school rules, at 30 percent of all suspensions, followed by verbal abuse of staff (23%), physical attacks on pupils (21%)

Across Northern Ireland, the suspensions totalled 6,166 throughout the period, with 667 pupils receiving punishment more than three times.

Worrryingly, 444 suspensions were linked to alcohol or substance abuse.

There were also 209 physical attacks on staff.

Primary school children received 228 suspensions.

There were more than 1,300 instances where children had physically attacked other pupils, with 209 directed at school staff.

Secondary schools take the lead in terms of the sheer numbers of suspensions, with grammar coming in second, followed by primary and special schools.

Male students made up the vast majority of suspensions, with 4,823, whereas girls were responsible for a much lower 1,343. The only category in which girls’ suspensions outnumbered boys’ was alcohol abuse.

North Eastern Education and Library Board pupils were most likely to be removed from school, closely followed by Belfast.

Fewer suspensions were reported in the Western and South Eastern Boards, with the Southern Board reporting the least over the year.

In the 2013/14 school year, there was a total of 29 expulsions.

The majority of the pupils expelled were male and of post-primary age, with 69.0% of the total of pupils expelled from Key Stage 4.

The three most common reasons for expulsion were: verbal abuse of staff, accounting for 24.1% of expulsions, physical attack on staff (20.7%) and persistent infringement of school rules (17.2%).