THE number of school pupils excluded in Swindon has rocketed by more than 25 per cent, new figures reveal.

And more than 100 of them were kicked out of school for violent attacks on teachers.

An Adver investigation revealed that 231 pupils were excluded permanently or for up to five days for hitting fellow pupils while another 109 were kicked out for assaulting adults.

While the data does not specify the job role of the ‘adult’, it is most likely to be a teacher or teaching assistant.

The number of pupils given fixed or permanent exclusions in the Swindon area has risen considerably between 2015 and 2018 from 1,684 to 2,115.

But the number of pupils excluded forever or for a fixed term because of drugs and alcohol fell to 52.

A teachers’ union representative fears that many staff are “suffering in silence” as abusive and undisciplined pupils make them want to quit the profession at a time when they are in short supply and sorely needed.

The percentage of exclusions in the Swindon area made for violence, drug or alcohol-related reasons dropped from 30 per cent to 18 per cent between 2015 and 2018.

NASUWT acting general secretary Chris Keates said: “For too long, too many teachers have suffered in silence.

“The union gathered evidence on the extent of the verbal and physical abuse being faced by teachers, some of whom report abuse occurring daily.

“Their physical and mental health is being affected by the failure of too many employers to support them in tackling these issues.

“No teacher should have to go to work with the expectation that they will be abused. All workers are entitled to a safe working environment, free from violence and disruption.”

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy headteacher George Croxford said: “All schools have support packages for teachers if they need someone to talk to – most staff that do this feel better afterwards.

“I’ve worked in inner-city schools where there’s constant open defiance which really wears down some of the staff and they decide it’s not worth the trouble – and rightly so, they should not have to put up with it – but I haven’t experienced that here or heard about it from other heads in the area.”

He added: “It’s good to see that the amount of exclusions given for these reasons  has fallen. The only other reason I can think of for someone being excluded would be if they showed persistent disruptive behaviour. This is when, despite being given every chance and every other option, the pupil refuses to pay attention or listen.

“The overall number of exclusions has gone up partly because there are more students, and where the school is and what accountability measures they have in place also plays a part in it.”

Ridgeway School headteacher James Povoas said: “From the stats circulated every term, I know we have very low exclusions here.

“All schools have been doing a significant amount of work to improve behaviours across the town. Sadly, exclusions, while the last resort, are sometimes necessary to address completely unacceptable behaviour, and we temporarily exclude if a student hits another or swears at a member of staff.

“I’m aware the local authority and police have been doing a lot of work on this.”

Mr Croxford added: “I don’t think exclusion is used disproportionately. No headteacher likes doing them, especially the permanent ones which are always sad to see.

“To get to that point, staff have reached the end of their tether or something really serious happens which gives them no other choice, like an assault or bringing a knife into school or drug dealing, which are really rare and not something I’ve heard of happening around here.

“Most schools run internal exclusion rooms where the pupil works with a member of staff and we deal with their behaviour issues there without resorting to actual exclusion.

“Short-term fixed exclusions of one to five days each do work and we usually see an improvement in behaviour afterwards, often after the first time..

“We work with parents to ensure that the excluded pupils are doing work and not playing games.”

The latest available data shows that 26 per cent (303,923) of all exclusions in England between 2015/16 and 2017/18 were actioned because of violence against a pupil or an adult, or for alcohol and drug abuse.