04 SES 14 A, The Policy, Practice and Prevalence of School Exclusion in the UK
Aims: Over the last ten years, Wales has seen falling levels of both fixed term and permanent exclusions and the rate of permanent exclusions in particular is now much lower than in England. Although this may reflect the consolidation of a distinctive Welsh approach which emphasises social inclusion and continues to support local authority services, it may also be the case that schools are ‘hiding’ the real incidence of school exclusion through a range of informal processes. Methods: The paper will examine the official data relating to school exclusions in Wales, as well as emerging findings on the unofficial processes of school exclusion that have been gathered through interviews with a small sample of secondary headteachers. Findings: Preliminary findings indicate that schools do indeed find a number of creative ways to ‘manage’ the presence of students exhibiting dangerous or disruptive behaviour in schools. These include unofficial ‘exchanges’ of students and retaining students within the school, but outside the classroom in ‘isolation’ units. Conclusions: The main conclusion of this preliminary research is that much more research needs to be undertaken not only on diverse kinds of unofficial exclusions but on the impact that these various practices have on schools and students.
Welsh Government (2015) Exclusion from schools and pupil referral units. Cardiff Children’s Commissioner for Wales, The right to learn: supporting children and young people at pupil referral units to reach their potential, Swansea: Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
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