Children as young as five thrown out of school for sexual misconduct, according to figures obtained by the Press Association

Children as young as five have been thrown out of school for sexual misconduct, an investigation has found.

Hundreds of school pupils have been either permanently or temporarily ejected from class in the last four years after being involved in sexual acts, including watching pornography and sharing indecent images. 

The data, obtained from a Freedom of Information submitted by the Press Association, shows there were 18 incidents involving boys for every one incident involving a girl.

The majority of exclusions were on a fixed-term basis, with 14-year-olds the most likely to be involved in sexual misconduct.

There were 754 reported incidents between July 2013 and April 2017 but the true figure is likely much higher because the majority of councils contacted said they did not hold the information or refused to disclose it.

The figures show there were at least 40 incidents of children below 10, the age of criminal responsibility, disciplined for misdemeanours.

In response to the data, an NSPCC spokesperson has called for sex education to be “dragged into the 21st century”.

The spokesperson said: “Every child has the right to feel safe at school.

“Preventing harmful sexual behaviour through proper, up-to-date sex and relationships education is immeasurably better than excluding children after the harm has been done.

“By giving children the right information about sexuality, consent, risks and protection, we teach them how to make healthy relationship decisions, how to treat others and how to know when something is not right.

“Social media, sexting, online porn and dating apps did not exist when sex education was introduced on the curriculum a generation ago.

“It must be dragged into the 21st century, it must be consistent, and it must be offered in every school as part of a broader PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) curriculum.”

In March, the Government announced children would be taught about healthy relationships from the age of four, with sex education compulsory in all secondary schools, from September 2019.

Schools said children could be censured under the term “sexual misconduct” for a range of issues, including sexual abuse, assault, bullying, graffiti and harassment, as well as lewd behaviour.

Other examples included holding, distributing or requesting indecent images, accessing internet pornography, and sexual misconduct involving social media.

The figures do not include those where children were victims at the hands of staff or adult volunteers.

The data was based on results from 15 local authorities with data.

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.

“As announced in March 2017, all primary schools will be required to teach relationships education and all secondary schools will have to teach relationships and sex education in the future.

“We want to help all schools deliver these lessons so that young people are equipped to have healthy relationships and treat each other with respect.”

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