Merton Council’s school exclusion figures that have just been released reveal a significant decrease in the number of permanent exclusions.

The figures show that the number fell from 29 for 1998/99 to 24 for 1999/00. This decline puts Merton firmly on course to hit Government permanent exclusion targets.

Fixed period exclusions (suspensions) levelled at just below 1,100, although the average length of suspension did increase.

Councillor Maxi Martin, Cabinet Member for Primary Education and Children Services, said: “The falling number of permanent exclusions reflects the strides that Merton’s schools and the LEA have made in supporting difficult pupils in mainstream schools.

“A lot of hard of hard work has gone into this decrease and the authority recognises the efforts to hit Government targets. Close scrutiny of the exclusion figures points out areas of achievement and maps out a challenging agenda for the future.”

Councillor Martin added: “Areas to address, such as wide variation in the practice between different schools, continued worries about the level of black pupils and some out-borough pupils. “I am confident that we will continue to make significant progress.”