More than a third of youngsters involved in this summer's riots had been excluded from school at some point in the last year, figures showed today.
Those involved in the looting and violence which swept through English cities in August were younger, poorer, involved in more trouble and achieved lower grades than average, detailed analysis of the histories of those charged over the disturbances showed.
But gangs "generally did not play a pivotal role", officials said, and most police forces found that fewer than one in 10 of those arrested were gang members.
The figures, which were based on matching Ministry of Justice (MoJ) records with those from the national pupil database held by the Department for Education, showed 36% of young people - some 139 10 to 17-year-olds - who appeared before the courts over the riots had received one or more fixed-term exclusions in 2009/10, compared with just 5.6% of all pupils aged 15.
A total of 11, 3% of young people appearing before courts over the riots, had been permanently excluded, compared with 0.1% of all those children aged 15 at the start of the 2009/10 academic year.
Three in 10 (30%) were persistent absentees from school, compared with less than one in 20 (4%) of all pupils in secondary schools run by local authorities, the figures showed.
Overall absence rates were also higher for those young people involved in the riots, up to 18.6% compared with 8.4% for all pupils in Year 11.
And their educational achievement was down, with just one in 10 of the youngsters involved achieving five or more A* to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, compared with more than half (53%) of all pupils in 2009/10.
Some two-fifths of youngsters were in receipt of free school meals, compared with less than a fifth on average, and two-thirds had special educational needs, compared with the average of a fifth of all pupils, the figures showed.
Last month, Education Secretary Michael Gove admitted the riots had shown an "educational underclass".
"For all the advances we have made, and are making in education, we still every year allow thousands more children to join an educational underclass - they are the lost souls our school system has failed," he said.
"It is from that underclass that gangs draw their recruits, young offenders institutions find their inmates and prisons replenish their cells.
"These are young people who, whatever the material circumstances which surround them, grow up in the direst poverty - with a poverty of ambition, a poverty of discipline, a poverty of soul."
He went on: "If we are to tackle the scandal of our educational underclass we cannot shrink from radical action.
"We need, restlessly and relentlessly, to challenge, everywhere and always, the culture of low expectations that condemns so many young people to a lifetime incarcerated in a prison house of ignorance."