Pupil Exclusions: Ethnic Groups

Department for Education written question – answered on 26th July 2022.

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Photo of Daisy Cooper Daisy Cooper Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle the disproportionate rates of school exclusions of black children.

Photo of Daisy Cooper Daisy Cooper Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support is available for parents to challenge the decision of school governing boards on student exclusions, in the event that parents consider racial discrimination to be a factor.

Photo of Brendan Clarke-Smith Brendan Clarke-Smith The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Published in 2019, the Timpson Review of School Exclusions illustrated a complex picture and identified that there is no substantial difference in permanent exclusion rates, when comparing all ethnic minority children as a whole with white British children. However, the department recognises that certain groups of children are more likely to be permanently excluded, although local context means there will be different patterns across the country.

The updated suspension and permanent exclusion guidance, published 13 July 2022, sets out that it is vital that schools, local authorities, and local partners work together to understand what lies behind local trends. Local leaders should use this understanding to plan and put in place additional and targeted action. If they identify any gaps, they should act to ensure those who work with children have the training, services, and support they need to address them.

Under the Equality Act 2010, schools also have a legal duty not to discriminate against pupils. Ofsted’s assessment of behaviour in schools includes specific consideration of rates, patterns, and reasons for exclusions, as well as any differences between groups of pupils.

If a parent believes that any form of discrimination has been a factor in their child’s exclusion, they can make a claim to the first-tier tribunal in relation to disability, or a county court for other forms of discrimination.

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