04 SES 14 A, The Policy, Practice and Prevalence of School Exclusion in the UK
Aim: The 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 were ‘removed from the school register’ (the equivalent of permanent exclusion) and 89 were permanently excluded in Wales. The aim of this paper is to explore some of the reasons for these differences Method: The paper will examine the official data relating to school exclusions in England, as well as emerging findings on the unofficial processes of school exclusion that have been gathered through interviews with a small sample of leaders of alternative provision and appropriate charitable bodies. Findings: Preliminary findings indicate that there is a considerable variation in official and unofficial practices and processes of exclusion. Some of this variation is justifiably termed ‘illegal’. Changes of governance involving academies and free schools, competition between schools, along with budget cuts, appear to be making a negative impact on the position of students from disadvantaging circumstances. Conclusions: Policies which devolve responsibility without protection for the disadvantaged result in ‘work arounds’ which compound difficulties experienced by disadvantaged youth.
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. 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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