The number of pupils being excluded from school has risen for the third year in a row, data has revealed.

Headteachers say that cuts to the budgets for behaviour and mental health programmes are partly to blame.

However, the figures highlight that around 40 pupils every day are being permanently excluded from school.

The figures come from the Department for Education and reveal that in 2016-17, 0.1% of pupils from all schools were excluded.

However, in 2015-16 the figure for pupils being expelled had risen to 0.08%.

Third year running that there has been a rise in exclusions

This is the third year running that there has been a rise in exclusions after several years of falling figures. Also, the increase is at a steeper rate than previously recorded.

The overall figures are being driven by rising rates of exclusion in secondary schools, which rose from 0.17% in 2015-16 to 0.20% last year.

The figure also reflects a fall in the proportion of pupils that are excluded by special schools.

The data highlights that 83% of all permanent exclusions were carried out by secondary schools.

The rate for permanent exclusions in primary schools is also rising, and has risen to 0.03% last year from 0.02% the year before.

Fixed period exclusions have also increased

The DfE also says that suspensions, or fixed period exclusions, have also increased.

The data shows that for all schools, in 2016-17 there were 4.76% of fixed period exclusions, compared with 4.29% in the year previously.

Essentially, the figures show that around 2,010 pupils were suspended every day in 2016-17. In the year before, this figure was 1,786 pupils.

The common reasons for permanent exclusions include ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’, which accounted for 36% of all these exclusions last year.

In special schools, the most common reason for permanent exclusion was for physical assault against an adult, which accounted for 38% of all permanent exclusions and for fixed period exclusions, this reason accounted for 28%.

Schools minister Nick Gibb says that permanent exclusion should only be used by schools as a last resort and said the government is supporting teachers and taking ‘measured and proportionate steps to help ensure good behaviour in schools’.

A review of exclusion practices

The government has unveiled a review of exclusion practices, particularly for those issues dealing with vulnerable pupils and those with special educational needs.

The figures highlight that poor pupils, those who are on free school meals, are four times more likely to be permanently excluded than other students.

The data also highlights the black Caribbean pupils are excluded at three times the rate of the average school population.

The leader of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said the school funding crisis is partly to blame.

He said: “Schools are cutting back on individual support they can give students which makes it more difficult to provide intervention and prevent behavioural problems escalating.

“Also, council support services for vulnerable families have been reduced, which means schools are picking up the pieces.”

Schools only exclude students as a last resort

He added that schools only exclude students as a last resort when other avenues have been exhausted, but the government needs to provide the financial help necessary for providing support at an early stage.

The National Association of Headteachers’ general secretary, Paul Whiteman, said: “School budgets are at breaking point. So many measures that schools could take to ensure good behaviour and provide adequate support are under threat.”