MORE pupils were excluded from Doon Academy in 2017/18 than any other school in East Ayrshire.

A freedom of information request obtained by the Chronicle revealed a total of 38 pupils were excluded from the Dalmellington school on 63 separate occasions last year.

Verbal abuse of staff was the most common reason, accounting for 27 exclusions. Physical assault with no weapon against a pupil and general or persistent disobedience both result in 12 exclusions.

One pupil was excluded for the threat of physical violence using a weapon or improvised weapon against a pupil.

Other students were also excluded for fighting, verbal abuse of pupils and insolent or offensive behaviour.

Across the county, 200 pupils were excluded on 512 separate occasions.

Cumnock Academy saw 17 pupils excluded on 19 occasions – including four for substance misuse other than alcohol – while just eight pupils were excluded from Auchinleck Academy on 12 occasions in 2017/18.

Four pupils were excluded from Hillhead Primary, three from Greenmill, two from Logan and Barshare, Dalrymple, Drongan, Netherthird and St Patrick’s Primaries each saw one pupil excluded.

A total of 25 pupils were excluded on 47 occasions at St Joseph’s Academy.

Commenting on the figures, Linda McAulay-Griffiths, East Ayrshire Council’s head of education said: “An exclusion from school can happen for a wide range of different circumstances and can be for different lengths of time.

“Focusing on an individual school is unhelpful, as the number of exclusions can look high, especially if that school has a small pupil roll, so the figures need to be considered in context.

“In the last academic year the total number of exclusions across all our schools was 200. With almost 16,000 pupils, we have an exclusion rate of just 1.25%, clearly indicating that the number of exclusions is actually very low.

“Where a pupil has been excluded, we work with them and their parents, or carer, to directly address the issues that led to the exclusion, offering support and guidance to reduce the chances of it happening again.”