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Fewer exclusions – all thanks to reform?

1 August 2014

A government report has highlighted a reduction in the number of permanent and fixed term exclusions since 2010. The figures show a reduction of around 1000 permanent exclusions to 4630 and a reduction of 60,000 fixed term exclusions to just over 267,000 in 2012/13. The report suggests that the reforms to behaviour management and the exclusions process have played a key role in the reduction by giving greater powers to schools to make decisions on behavioural issues.

Whilst the reduction in exclusions is good news and could indicate that schools will benefit from better behaviour and less disruption to teaching and learning, government reforms may not be wholly responsible for the reduction. Exclusions have always been a sanction of last resort and schools have developed different ways of supporting pupils to avoid exclusion such as greater school to school collaboration to provide pupils with a fresh start. Schools may have also chosen to avoid testing their exclusion decisions through the new exclusion framework which is based on recently criticised government guidance.

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