CHILDREN as young as three are among a growing number of pupils being suspended from primary schools in Wrexham, it’s been revealed.

A total of 168 primary age youngsters in the county have been given fixed term exclusions in the last two years, according to figures released by Wrexham Council under the Freedom of Information Act.

While ten-year-olds account for a quarter of all suspensions, a response by the local authority published on the WhatDoTheyKnow website shows one three-year-old was suspended in the autumn term of 2017, while 12 four-year-olds have also been temporarily removed from class.

It forms part of a rising trend in suspensions in the area’s primary schools since the summer of 2017 with 31 given out this spring.

Wrexham Council said teachers were witnessing an increase in children with difficult behavioural issues.

However, the local authority has pledged to clamp down on the number of fixed term exclusions.

Chief education officer Ian Roberts said: “Children and young people are increasingly presenting with complex behaviours due to a range of factors.

“Whereas there has been an increase in fixed term exclusions, this is not particular to Wrexham with similar trends across a number  of local authorities.

“Each school has its own behaviour policy which it will implement through a graduated response process with exclusion never taken lightly and in most cases the last resort.

“The local authority provides a range of services to support schools and young people.

“These include counselling and advocacy services and a range of inclusion pathways.

“The authority recognises a need to reduce exclusions with this being a current priority as detailed in the council plan.”

A report published by the authority earlier this year showed youngsters across all age groups were banned from class for a total of 3,162 days during the 2017/18 school year.

At the time, Mr Roberts said mental health issues were partly to blame.

But politicians have voiced concerns about the waiting list for counselling services.

It comes after the council revealed last month that 196 secondary school pupils were waiting to access support, with some facing delays of up to four months.

As a result, it has outlined plans to intervene earlier by working with primary schools.