More pupils in Denbighshire are being excluded for up to a week than in any other county in Wales.

There were more than 1,000 suspensions in 2015 to 2016 of between one and five days.

But the number of youngsters getting shorter term exclusions of under a school week fell signficantly, new figures show.

Ruthin county councillor and lead member on education, Huw Hilditch-Roberts said: “The goal here is that we have a policy and ambition to keep children in school.

“Excluding them permanently is the last resort. It is key that we get the learning offer that works around the children and make sure that they get the best opportunity so they can achieve the best in life. And the reason why short term exclusions is high is to reach that goal.”

A report before committee members said schools are encouraged to use short term exclusions rather than long terms ones as these have a detrimental impact on pupils.

Children are excluded from school for bad behaviour and keep disruption to a minimum.

Karen Evans, the council’s head of education, said: “We have more fixed term exclusions in high schools than we do in primary schools. But if you look at the primary school data what you see is the number of fixed term exclusions for one to five days is higher where there is significant deprivation.”

She added: “Some people will look at this and say one to five days is far too many and something must be done about it. Others will look at this and say there are robust policies and procedures in place and as a result of that we’re seeing less children getting a sanction for longer periods of time. “

Former teacher and Llangollen county councillor, Graham Timms, welcomed the council’s approach to dealing with disruptive children.

He said: “In my experience excluding a child should be absolutely the last thing possible resort. It can become a punishment and we shouldn’t be just punishing children. We should be trying to change their behaviour.”

The council had the highest rates for exclusions over five days in North Wales with 1.4 exclusions per 1,000 pupils in 2014/16 but this went down to 0.9 the following year.