More than 30 pupils a day suspended for cyber bullying in UK schools

Prince Harry discusses dangers of social media for children

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More than 30 pupils every school day were suspended between 2020 and 2021, including one Reception Year pupil, aged four or five.

New Government statistics also reveal the huge scale of the headache facing schools, caused by social media.

Many offences involve bullying or abusing other pupils online, as well as posting insults against teachers.

In some cases pupils took staff ­pictures from official websites and pasted them into pornographic ­videos, before publishing online.

The impact of cyber-bullying can be severe. Pupil victims are more likely to use drugs and alcohol and to miss school.

They are also more likely to get poor grades and suffer health issues. The Department for Education said in the school year ending 2021, which was disrupted by lockdowns, 36 pupils were expelled and 6,626 suspended for social media offences.

Calls for “phone-free schools” spark fears a ban would merely create new problems associated with confiscating and returning devices to pupils.

Department for Education guidance is not to ban phones, though it says allowing them “introduces complexity and risks, including distraction, ­disruption and abuse”.

It adds: “Headteachers should consider restricting or prohibiting mobile phones to reduce the risks.”

Pupils in Year 9, aged 13 and 14, are most frequently in trouble for online activity, statistics show. However, 373 suspensions and two expulsions also occurred at primary schools.

Christopher McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “Social media can be an addictive drug that destroys lives.

“As a headteacher I banned phones in my school. A green light sends the wrong message. There is enough potential misery in schools without adding to it.

“Headteachers should have the guts to do the right thing.”

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