A huge increase in the number of children permanently expelled from Birmingham schools is an unexplainable one-off blip, education chiefs have insisted.
Just over 80 pupils were regarded as so disruptive that they were removed from mainstream education by city head teachers during a single term.
The figure, for Autumn 2009, represented a 40 per cent increase on the same period in the previous year.
More than a quarter of pupils thrown out of their classes were under the age of 11 and attended primary schools.
Figures for the Spring 2010 term show the sharp rise in expulsions beginning to tail off, with 65 pupils permanently excluded.
A city council spokesman said: “We have recently had a very quiet start to the summer term.
“If the trend continues, by the end of it we would expect to be on par or marginally higher than the last academic year’s total of 174 permanent exclusions for all schools. The Autumn term increase of 40 per cent compared to 2007-2008 seems to have been a temporary blip and things have settled down somewhat.”
Any increase in children being taken out of school would bring to an end a three-year trend which saw a dramatic fall in the rate of permanent exclusions.
The rise in expulsions is in contrast to the latest report by schools watchdog Ofsted, which shows that the academic performance of most pupils in Birmingham is improving.
The percentage of children achieving the rate of progress expected by the government is now at the national average, having lagged behind in the past. However, girls at secondary school are still performing better than boys especially in the key subjects of English and maths.
City education department research manager John Hill said: “There has been year on year improvement in standards in Birmingham schools and the pace of improvement has been slightly higher than average.
“This is a testament to the ahrd work of pupils, teachers, parents and politicians from all political parties who have supported education in this city.”
But Birmingham National Union of Teachers representative Nigel Baker sounded a note of caution.
Mr Baker said: “I wouldn’t want people to think everything is rosy. There are still some groups of children failing to reach targets.