04 SES 14 A, The Policy, Practice and Prevalence of School Exclusion in the UK
Aims: Official exclusion rates in Scotland have reduced significantly in recent years. There were 18,430 cases of temporary exclusion in 14/15, down from 21,955 in 12/13; and 27.2 cases of temporary exclusion per 1,000 pupils in 14/15, down from 32.8 in 12/13. Scotland prides itself on a strong commitment to a publicly provided, comprehensive, co-educational system in which most learners attend their local school. The most recent Behaviour in Scottish Schools survey (2017) confirms that most teachers feel that behaviour and learning are generally good. However, declining rates of exclusion have sharpened a focus on how the Scottish policy context may shape the extent to which hidden or informal processes lie beneath the official exclusion rates and whether there are disproportionate rates of exclusion for some groups of learners within these figures. Methods: The paper will examine the official data relating to school exclusions in Scotland and some emerging findings on informal processes of school exclusion gathered through interviews with a small sample of school leaders. Findings: Preliminary findings indicate that schools often work hard to support students at risk of exclusion but that some approaches devised as ‘alternatives’ may serve to reinforce rather than mitigate exclusion. Conclusions: Much more research needs to be undertaken to understand how national policy and local processes can ameliorate or compound the difficulties for young people at risk of exclusion.
Hilton, Z., 2006. Disaffection and school exclusion: why are inclusion policies still not working in Scotland? Research Papers in Education, 21(3), pp.295–314. Munn, P. et al., 2001. Exclusion from school: a view from Scotland of policy and practice. Research Papers in Education, 16(1), pp.23–42.
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