The government has just published the latest data on exclusions, both fixed term and permanent. The evidence covers the year 2014/15. Sadly, it shows a rising trend in permanent exclusions in both the secondary and special school sectors. Secondary schools also had an increased rate of fixed term exclusions. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2014-to-2015 These figures are disappointing for both these sectors.
As the Statistical Release comments:
The greatest increase in the number of permanent exclusions was in secondary schools, where there were 4,790 permanent exclusions in 2014/15 compared to 4,000 in 2013/14. This corresponded to an increase in the rate of permanent exclusions from 0.13 per cent in 2013/14 to 0.15 per cent (15 pupils per 10,000) in 2014/15. The rate of permanent exclusions in special schools also increased between 2013/14 and 2014/15, from 0.07 per cent to 0.09 per cent but remained the same in primary schools at 0.02 per cent.
The number of fixed period exclusions in state-funded primary, secondary and special schools has increased from 269,480 in 2013/14 to 302,980 in 2014/15. This corresponds to an average of around 1,590 fixed period exclusions per day in 2014/15, up from an average of 1,420 per day in 2013/14.
This means 170 more pupils per day excluded on fixed term removal from school, mostly for a day and 790 more permanent exclusions. So, around 1,000 more pupils weren’t being taught on any one day by the end of the 2014/15 school-year.
As to the reasons for exclusions, the Bulletin comments;
Persistent disruptive behaviour remained the most common reason for permanent exclusions in state funded primary, secondary and special schools – accounting for 1,900 (32.8 per cent) of all permanent exclusions in 2014/15. This is equivalent to two permanent exclusions per 10,000 pupils. It is also the most common reason for fixed period exclusions. The 79,590 fixed period exclusions for persistent disruptive behaviour in state-funded primary, secondary and special schools made up 26.3 per cent of all fixed period exclusions, up from 25.3 per cent in 2013/14. This is equivalent to around one fixed period exclusion per 100 pupils. Physical assault against an adult is the most common reason for fixed period exclusion from special schools – accounting for around a third of permanent exclusions and a quarter of fixed period exclusions in 2014/15.
It might be worth looking at whether better training might help in the special school sector, especially if a large number of the exclusions for assaults were on relatively new and inexperienced staff. The high level of’ persistent disruptive behaviour’ is also worrying. As school rolls increase and class sizes become larger, what might have been containable in a smaller class become unmanageable in the new larger group? Nevertheless, many primary schools do still manage not to exclude any pupils all year.
It is slightly surprising that Yorkshire & the Humber region that doesn’t generally have teacher recruitment problems should feature amongst the regions with the highest percentage of fixed term exclusions, whereas Outer London, beset by recruitment challenges, is amongst the lowest, but it schools are also among the most successful at GCSE. There are issues to unravel in these figures.