04 SES 14 A, The Policy, Practice and Prevalence of School Exclusion in the UK
There are very large disparities in rates of permanent exclusion from school across the four jurisdictions (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland).
For example, number of permanent exclusions in England across all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools has increased from 4,950 in 2013/14 to 5,800 in 2014/15. In the same period in Northern Ireland there were 25 permanent exclusions, in Scotland 5 and 89 in Wales.
Past research has shown that permanent disciplinary exclusion has many negative long term consequences for all aspects of young people’s lives. However, little is known about the reasons why the four jurisdictions differ so greatly in their official accounts of practices of exclusion or whether there are informal practices which are associated with these disparities. This interdisciplinary symposium will examine understandings and accounts of practices of official permanent exclusion from schools as well as the informal means by which Children and Young People (CYP) become excluded in the four constituent nations of the UK in order to understand the ways in which policy impacts on practices that have such a profound impact on young lives. The symposium brings together essential expertise to take a more holistic approach to understanding the crucial aspects of children’s education, investigating the reasons for the UK disparities, as well as the policy and practice in place and implications for the future.
These data raise three important and related questions:
- What aspects of the distinctive policy and practice contexts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales contribute to the lower rates of permanent exclusion than England?
- To what extent does the attempt to reduce permanent exclusion through these policies lead to increasing amounts of ‘illegal’ and ‘internal’ exclusion?
- Why permanent exclusion rates in England continue to rise and why do some local authorities in England report higher rates of exclusion than others?
The four papers will each contain a brief account of the patterns and processes relating to the school exclusions. Although it is extremely difficult to provide a definitive picture of the prevalence of hidden forms of school exclusion at this point, the papers will present evidence from some preliminary investigations with key stakeholders.
The discussant will be invited to comment on the differences and similarities between the situations in each of the four jursidictions and identify the key issues that should be explored on this important yet still largely under-researched subject.
Daniels, H. and Cole, T. (2010) Exclusion from school: short-term setback or a long term of difficulties? European Journal of Special Needs Education, 25 (2), 115-130. Department for Education, 2016. Statistical First Release: permanent and fixed period exclusions in England: 2014 to 2015, London: Department for Education. Gazeley, L. (2010). The role of school exclusion processes in the re-production of social and educational disadvantage. British Journal of Educational Studies, 58(3), 293-309. Ferguson, L. and Webber, N. (2015). School exclusion and the law: A literature review and scoping survey. Oxford: University of Oxford. Strand, S. and Fletcher, J. (2014). A quantitative longitudinal analysis of exclusions from English secondary schools. Oxford: University of Oxford
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