EXCLUSION rates for school children from economically poorer families in Cumbria are more than four times higher than those for their peers from better-off households, figures reveal.

Figures from the Department for Education show schools in Cumbria excluded students eligible for free school meals 1,009 times during the 2019-20 academic year – 20 were permanent and 989 temporary.

It meant there were 11.4 exclusions for every 100 children entitled to the meals – a measure for children from poorer households.This was more than four times higher than the rate for children not eligible for free school meals, which was 2.5 per cent.

The figures cover Cumbria's 313 state-funded secondary, primary and special schools.

Across England, the exclusion rate for children from poorer households at 9.5 per cent, compared to 2.6 per cent for those from better-off families.