Record number of suspensions as schools report rising problems with challenging behaviour

Record numbers of suspensions are being handed out as schools across England report increasing problems with challenging student behaviour.
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The latest figures from the Department for Education (DfE, 2024) reveal a sharp rise in the number of exclusions and suspensions.

They show a total of 263,904 suspensions handed out during the spring term 2022/23 – the highest number ever recorded and an average of 3.13 per 100 pupils.

It is a notable rise on the previous spring term (2021/22) when 201,090 suspensions were recorded (2.4/100), although this rise can be explained by the sharp drop in suspensions seen during Covid (see figure 1).

Nonetheless, the current rate of suspensions is notably higher than pre-Covid figures, which tended to stay around the 120,000 to 150,000 mark for the spring term.

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