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Schools

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils in Northern Ireland have been found to be in the possession of (a) a weapon and (b) drugs on school premises in each of the last three years. (95527)

The Department of Education does not collect the information requested.

From the 2002-03 school year, statistics on the reasons for suspension have been gathered annually from each education and library board and relate to the number of individual suspensions, not to the number of pupils suspended. Specific data on drugs are not collected, but statistics are available for the number of suspensions from schools for possessing, using or dealing in illegal drugs or solvents on school premises. In 2002-03, data on substance abuse were combined with alcohol abuse, but in 2003-04 substance abuse was identified separately. Tables one and two detail the number of suspensions for substance or alcohol abuse from 2002-03 to 2004-05, the latest school year for which figures are available.

Table 1: Suspensions

Substance or alcohol abuse

2002-03

426

Table 2: Suspensions

Substance abuse

2003-04

421

2004-05

286

The reasons for expulsions have been collected since the 2003-04 school year. Again, the available statistics relate to expulsions for possessing, using or dealing in illegal drugs or solvents on school premises. In 2003-04 data on substance abuse were combined with data on alcohol abuse but in 2004-05 substance abuse was identified separately. Tables three and four detail the number of pupils expelled for substance or alcohol abuse in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years:

Table 3: Expulsions

Substance or alcohol abuse

2003-04

14

Table 4: Expulsions

Substance abuse

2004-05

10

Notifications from schools do not identity carrying an offensive weapon as a specific reason for suspension or expulsion.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many teachers in Northern Ireland have been the victims of (a) assault and (b) sexual assault in schools in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. (95526)

The Department of Education does not collect the requested information.

However, from the 2002-03 school year, statistics on the reasons for pupil suspensions have been gathered annually from each education and library board. The following table illustrates the number of pupil suspensions for physical attacks on staff for the period 2002-03 to 2004-05:

Number of suspensions1 for physical attack on staff by year

Number

2002-03

365

2004-05

320

2004-05

262

1 Due to a change in data collection, figures from 2004-05 are not directly comparable with those figures from previous years.

It should be noted that these figures relate to the number of individual suspensions and not to the number of pupils suspended.

Information on the number of sexual assaults by pupils on staff is not collected as part of the statistical return.

Statistics are not yet available for the 2005-06 school year.

These figures are available on the Department’s website at http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/21-pupils_ parents-pg/pupils_parents-suspensions_and _expulsions_pg.htm.