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Thousands of children kicked out of school for drink and drugs, says CSJ

There are more than 7,000 exclusions in schools in England each year for drugs or alcohol, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has said.

The damning new statistics, revealed by CSJ analysis of new Government data, show how alcohol and drug abuse are daily realities in some of England’s state schools.

Christian Guy, Director of the CSJ, said: “These new figures show many schools are struggling to cope and pupils are getting being hit by drugs and alcohol and an early age.”

Many individual local authorities had several hundreds of pupils excluded for drugs and alcohol - with the highest number in Kent, where there were 272 exclusions. In total there were 7,400 drug and alcohol related exclusions in England, 360 of them permanent.

The CSJ is urging the Government to scrap the drugs information website, FRANK and develop an effective replacement programme to send a strong signal to young people about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

The figures also show that there were 2,550 exclusions from school for sexual misconduct, while there were 3,790 exclusions for racist abuse. Shockingly there were also tens of thousands of cases of physical assault which led to expulsions, including 52,620 expulsions for pupils physically assaulting another pupil, and 17,680 expulsions for physical assault against an adult. 

Mr Guy added: “School provides the perfect opportunity to improve life chances and help children fulfil their potential. “It is alarming so many schools succumb to these problems which can have such a damaging and long-lasting impact.” The figures come from the Department of Education, and cover the latest recorded academic year, 2012/13. They relate to all state primary, secondary and special schools.

Permanent and fixed term exclusions:

Reason:                                         2010-2011          2011-2012          2012-2013

Physical assault against a pupil      63,220                58,960                 52,620

Physical assault against an adult   17,360                 17,520                 17,680

Drugs and alcohol                           8,200                  8,070                   7,400

Sexual misconduct                          3,170                  2,800                   2,550

Racist abuse                                   3,960                  4,210                   3,790

For media inquiries, please contact: - Ross Reid, Centre for Social Justice – Mob: 07780 707322


The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) is an independent think tank established in 2004 to put social justice at the heart of British politics. In June 2013, the CSJ was awarded UK Social Policy Think Tank of the Year at Prospect magazine’s Think Tank Awards. Last year the CSJ published Breakthrough Britain 2015, which set out almost 200 evidence-based policy recommendations to tackle poverty in the UK. This included solutions to worklessness, educational failure, addiction, family breakdown and problem debt. The current Home Secretary Theresa May said the CSJ was the “catalyst” for the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. This legislation, which will help Britain lead a global fight against modern slavery, was a key recommendation in the CSJ’s landmark 2013 report, It Happens Here.

The CSJ has published dozens of seminal papers which have shaped government policies, including Dynamic Benefits, which has led the Coalition’ welfare reforms. Further to this, the CSJ manages an Alliance of over 300 of the most effective grass roots, poverty-fighting organisations.

The CSJ is able to draw upon the expertise and experience of Alliance charities for research work and media inquiries. Journalists wishing to conduct grass-roots research into social problems can be put in touch with front-line charity directors and staff.

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