Schools unable to deal with children with behavioural problems and learning difficulties is leading to an increase in exclusions, a report has claimed.

The report from the London Assembly education panel investigates why school exclusions in the capital are on the increase.

There were 980 permanent school exclusions and 37,790 temporary exclusions in 2016 in the capital compared with 780 and 34,965 respectively in 2013.

The report said the rise in exclusions is partly caused by difficulties faced by schools in dealing with pupils with “complex needs” – such as learning or behavioural difficulties, mental health issues and unsafe home situations.

Jennette Arnold, the chairman of the education panel, said: “All children need a wide range of support systems to bring the best out of them in their academic and extracurricular studies.

“It’s important that young people get the best start in life. Outside of the home the next place that can happen is in the classroom, so we must make sure they are actually there.”

Figures from the Department for Education showed pupils with special education needs, children in care and pupils eligible for free school meals are just some of the groups of those overrepresented in exclusion figures.

According the report – which looked at testimonies from people working in education – a lack of funding has meant people working with children and assessing their social, emotional and educational needs are no longer available.

The report also raised concerns that these pupils are being “off-rolled”– unofficially excluded to boost school exam results.

Ms Arnold added: “Reduced support either because of funding or lack of awareness should not be the reason why ultimately pupils end up excluded.

“Young people who have challenging behaviours must not be brushed to the side via hidden exclusions or bare minimum support. Instead, they need even more support than the average pupil.

“We have a duty to these students because letting them down has wide-ranging consequences we need to consider seriously.”