READERS will undoubtedly be saddened to read that latest figures show more than 2,000 pupils were excluded from Worcestershire schools.

All children are entitled to an education and, although many will agree that the sanction is sometimes necessary, exclusion almost certainly represents the end of a long struggle and the start of a fresh concern for its impact on the child's future.

What will be more shocking for many is that nearly 40 per cent of Worcestershire's exclusions are down to violence or substance misuse - a figure that is among the highest nationally.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member with responsibility for education and skills, said the council was aware of the increase (in exclusions) and concerns regarding exclusions in association with physical assault and drug and alcohol related incidents. He said councillors will continue to work with members of the school community, children and families to closely examine the reasons behind the increase.

Let's hope this worrying trend can be stopped before any more children lose out.