VIOLENT children who disrupt classes should be permanently banned from mainstream schools, a Scottish teaching union has said.
The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) says children with a “history of violence” who undermine teachers need to be completely removed from mainstream education.
Acting General Secretary of the SSTA Alan McKenzie said the policy of moving troublesome pupils to other schools has failed.
He warns almost every school will have violent children who need to be removed, though parents groups have stressed no child should be “written off”.
Figures from the Scottish Government show 26,844 pupils were excluded in 2010-11, but only 60 were transferred to another school or given special provision.
The figures show 99% of exclusions were for fixed periods of time, and the number of pupils being excluded has fallen dramatically over the last decade.
Mr McKenzie, who represents more than 8,500 teachers, said: “Headteachers are discouraged from using exclusions, which leads to the conclusion things are getting better.
“Everyone is slavishly devoted to reintegrating them, but there are kids that simply have to be taken out of the system for the safety of everyone else.”
The Scottish Government issued guidance last year for councils to find other options for pupils excluded from their classes.
This could include alternative education in their own school, moving them to a new school, or in some cases arranging for them to be taught at home.
Mr McKenzie continued: “I think some kids need to go to a special provision where time is spent adjusting behaviour if there is a history of violence.
“I would like the government to give an honest appraisal of the problem.
“Almost every school would have kids like that – you remove them from mainstream education and deal with them in a particular way.
“Otherwise violent kids became violent citizens.”
Last year Brigadier Hugh Monro, her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons in Scotland, said pupils whose behaviour merited suspension or expulsion should be taught in “inclusion units”.
One similar unit in Dunfermline High School has reduced the number of children suspended or expelled by 72%.
Reasons for banning children from lessons can include attacks on teachers, stalking and drug abuse.
But while exclusion is one of the few tools schools have for dealing with pupils, there are markedly different approaches across Scotland.
Schools in Dundee excluded more than 1,800 pupils last year, equivalent to 107 per 1,000, two and a half times the national average.
Edinburgh was home to more than a third of the 60 pupils “removed from the register”.
Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, insisted no child should be “written off”.
She said: “It’s been demonstrated that excluding pupils simply shifts the problem.
“Alternative strategies have been put in place to lead to changes in behaviour and outcomes.
“There is general agreement around this approach, but the practicein schools differs widely as does the implementation of non-punitive interventions”.
A Scottish Government report on school discipline last month found serious disruptive behaviour has decreased.
But specific problems such as mobile phone abuse has shown an increase, the report found.
Figures show 35% of secondary heads have experienced some form of violence or abuse in the last year.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Violence and aggression have no place in Scottish schools.
“The Scottish Government published guidance on managing exclusions in 2011 that encourages early intervention.
“Exclusion remains an option available to schools as a last resort.”