CHILDREN as young as five are being excluded from school for sexual misconduct, an investigation has found.
In the last four years there were 754 reported incidents resulting in pupils being permanently or temporarily kicked out of classrooms.
Incidents included sexual abuse, assault, bullying, harassment and lewd behaviour, schools said.
Other examples involved indecent images online, social media or graffiti.
Most of the children excluded were aged 14, but there were also about 40 incidents involving children under 10 and seven in their first year of school.
There were 18 incidents involving boys for every one incident involving a girl.
The figures, obtained by the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act, were obtained from 15 local authorities and published today, but the overall figure is likely to be much higher as most councils said they did not hold the information or refused to disclose it.
Children’s charity NSPCC is calling for sex education to be “dragged into the 21st century” to include topics such as internet pornography and social media and to be taught by every school.
End Violence Against Women Coalition charity co-director Sarah Green said that children have access to extreme images online without being given guidance, protection or engaging in discussions about “respect, equality and acceptable behaviour.”
She said: “These figures, which reveal really alarming behaviour in schools, show that girls and boys are being failed by those who should protect them and prevent this.
“The Department for Education (DfE), and school leaders and parents need to take responsibility now for ensuring better child protection, better policies on bullying which recognise sexual bullying and good relationships and sex education. We can change this.”
Vice-president of teachers’ union NUT Kiri Tunks said: “Some sex education is very piecemeal: some schools do a fantastic job.
“The DfE is saying it’ll make [sex education] compulsory but it’s not saying anything about funding and training.
“The whole system is geared towards exams. This is seen as extra — at a time when school funding is being cut.”
She added that data relating to sexual misconduct is not routinely collected, which can mean the focus is only on higher-level safeguarding issues.
A DfE spokesman said: “Sexual assault of any kind is an offence and must always be reported to the police.
“Schools should be safe places and we issue safeguarding guidance to protect pupils’ welfare.”