Rise in number of four-years-old excluded from East Yorkshire schools for hitting staff
FOUR-year-old children are being sent home from schools across East Yorkshire for stealing and hitting staff.
In the past two years, there have been 63 instances of four and five-year-olds given fixed- term exclusions in East Yorkshire schools.
These have been for physically assaulting staff, verbal abuse, stealing and being disruptive.
The highest number of suspensions are for physically assaulting adults.
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The figures have risen 76 per cent in the East Riding in the past five years and 31 per cent in Hull.
Unions blame a lack of social awareness among children, some of whom, they say, no longer know right from wrong.
Ian Richardson, East Riding branch secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: "The interaction that used to come through common play is fractured.
"It is not uncommon for children of this age to be playing on their DS, Xbox or PlayStation3.
"Parents and carers have a responsibility to minimise that and to get children playing, talking and interacting.
"If children are interacting, they will become more socially aware and will understand that violence and abuse is not acceptable."
Mr Richardson said the NUT was so concerned, members had raised the issue at the annual conference.
He said: "It is a very negative situation which reflects problems in society. Children are living in difficult circumstances, in fractured homes.
"Sadly, when a child goes off the rails, it is a spontaneous reaction to blame the school or parents but this is a society issue which needs to be addressed."
The statistics show more instances of children being suspended are in the East Riding, with 19 last year compared with ten in Hull and 18 the year before, compared with seven in Hull.
Fixed-term exclusion could mean half a day, a whole day or just not being on the school site during a lunchtime period.
Angela Harper, chairman of East Riding primary school behaviour and attendance partnership, and an East Riding primary school head, said: "Exclusion is only used after many other sanctions have been used, or where adults or pupils have been physically assaulted and the severity of the incident merits this sanction.
"Sanctions work alongside help and support to ensure improvements in behaviour and positive outcomes."
Dr Jackie Lown, principal educational psychologist at East Riding Council, said the suspensions represented a tiny number. She said: "Primary schools ensure there are robust procedures in place to support children at risk of being excluded. These preventative and responsive measures enable schools to support the very small number of four and five year olds who sometimes find it difficult to behave in the way we would wish."