Schools in Cumbria excluded pupils for sexual misconduct on dozens of occasions in just one year, figures reveal.

But charity Rape Crisis said the figures do not show the true scale of sexual abuse inside schools, following thousands of allegations by students across England.

Department for Education figures show Cumbria schools excluded students 31 times for sexual misconduct in 2018-19 – one permanently and 30 temporarily.

This was unchanged from the previous year, but down from 42 in 2016-17.

Of the exclusions in 2018-19, the vast majority (30) occurred in state-funded secondary schools and one in a primary school.

They were among 1,972 sexual misconduct exclusions – which include incidents of sexual abuse, sexual bullying and sexual harassment – across England that year.

Overall, Cumbria schools excluded pupils 3,648 times in 2018-19 – 3,591 of which were fixed, and 57 permanent exclusions.