The number of pupils being expelled from Birmingham schools has almost halved in the last two years, according to new figures released by the city council.
And this dramatic fall in permanent exclusions, which follows a number of city-wide initiatives aimed at tackling bad behaviour, now puts Birmingham on a par with the national average announced by the Government.
Permanent exclusions of pupils in Birmingham dropped by 20 per cent, from 327 in 2006/07 to 261 in 2007/08, which is the period covered by the national figures.
But the city council reported an even bigger fall of 32 per cent during the last academic year to just 177 during 2008/09, giving an overall drop over the last two years of 45.87 per cent.
The proportion of permanent exclusions in Birmingham has also continued to drop, from 0.19 per cent of the total school population of 172,608 in 2006/07, to 0.15 per cent in 2007/08 and now just 0.10 per cent of the new school population of 174,126 for the academic year just ended.
Nationally, there were 8,130 permanent exclusions during 2007/08, representing 0.11 per cent of the total school roll for England - the same proportion as for the West Midlands.
Tony Howell, Birmingham’s strategic director for children, young people and families, said: “Anti-social and disruptive behaviour cannot be tolerated in our schools.
“But permanently excluding pupils has to be a last resort because of the stigma that goes with it and the impact it has on the education of young people.
“In Birmingham we make every effort to keep pupils on the right track. Sharing panels have played a big role in finding appropriate places for pupils at risk of permanent exclusion within a community of schools.”
The council has attributed the dramatic drop in expulsions to a combination of factors including the development of school behaviour partnerships and the introduction of ‘sharing panels’ in which schools work together to address behaviour issues.
Other measures include mentoring schemes, behaviour support service centres, and preventative work such as parenting skills.
Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo said: “It is time to put to bed the myth that behaviour is deteriorating with teachers powerless to act.
“The truth is that we have given teachers the powers they asked for to tackle bad discipline and these figures, as well as the trend over the last several years, show that the action we have taken is working in improving discipline in schools.”