Tens of thousands of school pupils were suspended from English schools last year for attacking their teachers or classmates, according to shocking new statistics.
Almost 17,000 of these suspensions involved primary school pupils aged 11 and under, and over 63,000 of them involved children in secondary schools.
The Department for Education’s statistics also revealed that there were 1,240 cases of children aged four and under being suspended for a variety of reasons during 2008/09.
According to the report, which revealed an overall decline in the number of suspensions and exclusions since the previous year, boys are three times more likely to be suspended than girls, and three and a half times more likely to be permanently excluded.
The report also showed that during 2008/9 there was a total of 307,840 suspensions from secondary schools for misbehaviour, 39,510 from primary schools and 15,930 from special schools.
And there was a total of 6,550 permanent exclusions.
Schools minister Nick Gibb has responded by reiterating the Government’s commitment to improving behaviour in schools and raising academic standards.
He said: “We will introduce further measures to strengthen teacher authority and support schools in maintaining good behaviour.”
In February a survey revealed that one in four parents avoid disciplining their children because they want an “easy life” and fear upsetting them.
The survey, commissioned by the Cadet Forces, portrayed a disturbing picture of parental discipline in the UK.
The survey showed that 55 per cent of parents in the UK see themselves as “more of a friend than a parent”, and would rather talk things through with their children than discipline them.
Last November a major study concluded that children who receive ‘tough love’, a combination of warmth and discipline, from their parents have the best chance of doing well in life.
The study found that parenting style, not economic background, is the most important factor determining a child’s development of positive qualities such as self-control, empathy and determination.
And top psychologist Dr Aric Sigman has said that parents who fail to exert authority have bred a “spoilt generation” of children who believe adults must earn their respect.
Dr Sigman’s book The Spoilt Generation, published last October, shows that many social problems, including teenage pregnancy and anti-social behaviour, are due to a lack of discipline.