RESEARCH has revealed state-maintained schools on Teesside had the lowest percentage of exclusions from schools due to violence or substance issues.

The study, based on figures from 2017/18, showed nine per cent of pupils expelled in Middlesbrough were for attacking other pupils or teachers, or drug and alcohol abuse.

The study was carried out by the Data Investigations Unit at Newsquest, which owns The Northern Echo.

As part of the research, permanent and fixed-period exclusions data from the Department for Education was analysed.

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: “We have a designated team of staff who work with schools to help plan an appropriate multi-agency response where a young person’s behaviour is deteriorating.”

One in ten exclusions in the Hartlepool, Stockton and Redcar council areas were for substance or violence issues.

But the figure in North Yorkshire was double that, at 20 per cent, and was 21 per cent in County Durham. In Darlington, the figure stood at 18 per cent.

Ian Shanks, Durham County Council’s pupil placement and education safeguarding manager, said some of the exclusions will be for single days or even part of a day and that the figures may include a particular student multiple times.

He said: “Permanent exclusions are implemented following particularly serious matters after careful and considered deliberation of all the facts.

“As a local education authority we provide places for excluded students at our Woodlands Pupil Referral Unit where we seek to prepare them for reintegration into mainstream education at a different school.”

The highest percentages of exclusions due to violence and substance misuse in the country were recorded in Southampton and Croydon, both at 40 per cent.

Chris Keates, acting general secretary of NASWUT teachers’ union, has blamed the Government for reducing and removing specialist support for pupils with challenging behaviour.

She claimed the Government’s actions have “driven qualified and specialist teachers out of the profession,” and increased “disaffection among pupils”.

She added: “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.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said headteachers are supported in using exclusion as a sanction where warranted.

The spokesman said: “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.”