Record drink and drug school exclusions in South Tyneside
School exclusions for drug and alcohol issues in South Tyneside have hit a record high, new figures reveal.
Department for Education figures show South Tyneside schools excluded students 52 times for drug and alcohol-related issues in 2018-19 – three permanently and 49 temporarily.
This was an increase on 26 the year before, and the highest since records began in 2006-07.
Of the exclusions, 49 were in secondary schools and three in special schools.
They were among a record 12,180 drug and alcohol-related exclusions in England – an increase of 17% on the year before.
In South Tyneside there was a total of 947 exclusions in 2018-19 - 57% up on the 604 the year before.
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics said the statistics were "worrying", and unless the underlying causes were addressed the number excluded may continue to rise.
Dr Piers Henriques, head of communications at the charity, said: "So often, for young people, substance misuse occurs as a coping mechanism for wider challenges, such as mental health problems or family discord.
"School exclusion will be justified in individual cases but we need better, earlier interventions that seek to support rather than bluntly punish these young people."
Nationally, the total number of exclusion increased between 2017-18 and 2018-19, from 419,000 to 446,000.
A DfE spokesman said: “We are clear that expulsion should only be used as a last resort, and should not mean exclusion from quality education or support.
“We will always back headteachers to use expulsion when required as part of creating calm and disciplined classrooms."