VIOLENCE in the classroom is on the rise ­— with violent behaviour, drugs and alcohol issues in class accounting for nearly a quarter of all school exclusions in Bury.

More than 1,200 children in state-maintained primary and secondary schools in the borough were were thrown out of class for assaulting a pupil or adult, or for drug and alcohol issues between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

And the number of total exclusion notices being handed out by schools has risen year-on-year in the same time period ­— from 1,124 to 2,136.

The rise in exclusions is being blamed on the Government for stripping special support for pupils with challenging behaviour.

Figures from the Department for Education (DfE), and analysed by the Newsquest's Data Investigations Unit, show that violence in Bury's schools has increased.

The number of exclusion notices handed out due to physical assault against a pupil rose to 389 in 2017/18 from 226 in 2015/16. And the figure for physical assault against an adult was 82, double the 2015/16.

The total number of exclusions due to physical assault against a pupils, adult and drug and alcohol related rose from 1,124 three years ago to 2,136 ­— accounting for 25 per cent all all exclusions.

Nationally, more than 303,000 children in state-maintained primary and secondary schools in England were handed permanent or fixed-period exclusions for assaulting a pupils or adult, or for drug and alcohol issues, between 2015/16 and 2017/18

Chris Keates, acting general secretary of teachers’ union NASWUT, said poor discipline of pupils was one of the main reasons why teachers considered leaving the profession.

She said: “It is common for people to assume behaviour problems are confined to secondary schools, but in fact, that has never been the case.

“Primary school teachers also face equally challenging and serious pupil indiscipline, but they are often discouraged from raising the issues, and led to believe it will reflect negatively on them because of the age of pupils.

“For too long, too many teachers have suffered in silence.”

Ms Keates added that being verbally and physically abused, in some cases daily, is impacting teacher’s mental health.

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

“The Government must take responsibility for the impact of policies which have reduced, or removed, internal and external specialist support for pupils for whom behaviour issues are a barrier to learning.”

The DfE said the Government backed headteachers to use their powers to issue fixed-period exclusions in response to poor behaviour.

But permanent exclusions should be a last resort, the department added.

Where pupils are excluded, the DfE said the “quality of education they receive should be no different than mainstream settings”.

A spokesman added: “The Government supports headteachers in using exclusion as a sanction where warranted. That means backing heads to use their powers to issue fixed-period exclusions in response to poor behaviour and to permanently exclude as a last resort.

“While fixed-period exclusion rates have risen, permanent exclusion rates have remained stable, and they are both lower than they were a decade ago.

“Permanent exclusion remains a rare event.”

No one from Bury Council was available for comment.