Lancashire County Council has hit back at new figures which show the county’s schools have the highest rate of expulsions in the country.
Data published in the Times Educational Supplement (TES) show Lancashire had the highest number, with children permanently excluded 364 times.
However, County Hall has pointed out it has more schools than any other authority, which is why it is likely to appear near the top, adding: “Fewer than 0.01 per cent of pupils were excluded last year and any increase is not statistically significant.
“Although this overall percentage is very low, and in line with other local authorities, we are still committed to working with schools to reduce it even more.”
The TES contacted 118 councils via the Freedom of Information Act.
A total of 12 authorities saw the number of permanent exclusions double, and of these, two saw figures rise by more than 200% and one by more than 300%.
In 25 areas, expulsions rose by at least 50%.
In many cases, the actual numbers of permanent exclusions were small. Behaviour expert Jarlath O’Brien told the TES: “Some local authorities are doubling in more in one year. These are places that are demographically very different from each other.
“Schools have much fewer staff than they used to. If you have to lose £700,000 in a year, you lose an awful lot of support staff and attendance officers.”
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Any decision to exclude should be lawful, reasonable and fair.”