What’s going on with exclusions?

July 30th, 2010

Data released yesterday from the Department for Education showed a declining rate of school exclusions. See https://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000942/index.shtml

The figures relate to the school year 2008/09 and reveal that:

“There was an estimated 6,550 permanent exclusions from primary, secondary and all special schools in 2008/09.

  • In 2008/09 there were 307,840 fixed period exclusions from state funded secondary schools, 39,510 fixed period exclusions from primary schools and 15,930 fixed period exclusions from special schools.
  • The average length of a fixed period exclusion in state funded secondary schools was 2.6 days, for primary schools the average length of a fixed period exclusion was 2.2 days.
  • The permanent exclusion rate for boys was approximately 3.5 times higher than that for girls. The fixed period exclusion rate for boys was almost 3 times higher than that for girls.
  • Pupils with SEN (both with and without statements) are over 8 times more likely to be permanently excluded than those pupils with no SEN.
  • Children who are eligible for free school meals are around 3 times more likely to receive either a permanent or fixed period exclusion than children who are not eligible for free school meals.”

Some interesting facts buried within the figures are that:

– Permanent exclusions have gone down by 19.4% over the previous year.

– There is still an alarming difference in exclusion rates of children from different backgrounds: the data shows that Black Caribbean pupils are 3 times more likely to be permanently excluded than the school population as a whole; similarly for children who are eligible for free school meals, who are 3 times more likely to be permanently excluded than other children.  

– Whilst the rate of permanent exclusion from ‘schools’ is 0.09% of the school population, it is 0.31% for Academies (a decrease from 0.42% in 2007/08).

– There were 640 appeals lodged against permanent exclusion decisions. of the appeals heard, 25% ruled in favour of the parents. Reinstatement was directed in 39% of successful appeals.

– The DfE’s technical notes suggest that a key reason for the decrease is the use of ‘managed moves’: arranging for the transfer of a child who is at risk of permanent exclusion to another school.

Will this data lead the government to re-think the exclusions guidance?

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