SCHOOLS in Herefordshire excluded pupils for sexual misconduct on dozens of occasions over a ten-year period, 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 Herefordshire schools excluded students 65 times for sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2019 – one permanently and 64 temporarily.

Of these, 56 occurred in state-funded secondary schools, one in a special school and eight in primary schools.

Two exclusions took place in 2018-19 – the year with the latest available figures.

Overall, Herefordshire schools excluded pupils 1,020 times in 2018-19 – 1,007 of which were fixed, and 13 permanent.

Across England in 2018-19, there were 1,972 sexual misconduct exclusions, which include incidents of sexual abuse, sexual bullying and sexual harassment.

Though a 13% drop on the year before, Rape Crisis said the number of exclusions will not show the true scale of sexist bullying and sexual violence being perpetrated in schools, particularly against girls.

More than 14,000 testimonies have been posted on the Everyone’s Invited website, where pupils can anonymously share their experiences of abuse and assault.

Some students have accused their establishments of not tackling a “rape culture”.

Website founder Soma Sara said the number of students who have the confidence to report incidences of sexual misconduct pales in comparison to the number who have suffered.

The Government announced an immediate review into sexual abuse in schools in the wake of the allegations, while an NSPCC helpline and an Ofsted review were also launched.

A Government spokeswoman said: “Where schools do not meet the strict safeguarding standards that we have in place, we will take swift action and we will always back headteachers to remove a pupil from the classroom where this creates a calm and disciplined environment.

“We would encourage anyone who is aware of any specific incidents and feels comfortable reporting their concerns to do so.”