TEACHERS are winning the war on bad behaviour in schools, ministers say - with a big drop in pupils suspended in Bradford.
The number of city children given a “fixed period exclusion” has fallen by almost 16 per cent since the Coalition came to power, new figures show.
There were 3,250 suspensions in 2009/10, before the general election, but the total fell to 2,740 in 2012/13, the department for education (Dfe) said.
There were smaller declines in Calderdale - from 1,230 to 1,190 - and Kirklee, where the number dropped from 2,650 to 2,400. In Leeds there was a huge drop from 6,120 to 4,140.
Across England, the pattern was the same – a 19 per cent fall in the number of suspensions in three years.
Nick Gibb, the Conservative schools reform minister, was quick to seize on the statistics as evidence that its changes to stamp out bad behaviour were working.
The minister said heads and teachers had been given “more power than ever before” to impose discipline and cut the need for suspensions.
Mr Gibb said: “We have introduced new search powers, no-notice detentions, and have put schools back in charge of exclusion appeals.
“These figures give further confirmation that our reforms are starting to have a real impact on improving behaviour in schools.
“This is supported by teachers on the ground - in 2013, more teachers rated their school's behaviour as good, or very good, than when previously surveyed in 2008.”
Ralph Berry, Bradford’s Cabinet member for education, argued that better collaboration and support between schools in the city was a more important factor.
And he added: “The scarcity of school places also means there is no alternative.”
Across England, there were also more than 1,000 fewer pupils permanently expelled in 2012/13 – a total of 4,630, down from 5,740 in 2009/10.
But, in Bradford, the figure was unchanged from before the election – at 20.
The annual statistics were marred by a rise in the number of primary school pupils suspended for attacking teachers.
Students aged between five and 11 were suspended 9,080 times for physical assault against an adult in the 2012/13 school year, up from 8,630 in 2011/12.
Looking back over three years, that figure has also risen in Bradford – from 130 to 146 pupils suspended for assault.
Boys are still three times more likely to be removed from school than girls, the nationwide figures show.
Earlier this month, Government-commissioned research showed giving schools more responsibility for exclusions led to fewer youngsters being expelled.
They dealt with behaviour problems earlier and were more involved in deciding where the children should be educated, a trial found.