Pupil Exclusions: Ethnic Groups

Department for Education written question – answered on 27 March 2023.

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Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Labour, Lewisham East

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to address trends in the level of racial inequalities in school exclusions.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Behaviour in schools is a priority for the Government. Head teachers use suspensions and permanent exclusions when required as part of creating calm, safe and supportive classrooms. Schools should only use permanent exclusion as a last resort. The Department supports teachers in taking proportionate and measured steps to ensure good behaviour in schools.

The updated Suspension and Permanent Exclusion guidance 2022 sets out that schools, Local Authorities, and local partners should work together to understand what lies behind local exclusion trends. Guidance on updated suspension and permanent exclusion can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-exclusion.

This is in line with the commitment the Government made in Inclusive Britain: the Government’s response to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (published March 2022). Action 36 committed to ‘consult on and publish new and improved guidance on behaviour in schools and on suspensions and permanent exclusions in 2022’.

The Department’s ‘Understanding your data: a guide for school governors and academy trustees’ makes clear governing boards should carefully consider the level and characteristics of pupils who are leaving the school and deploy maximum challenge to the school and academy trust management teams on any permanent exclusions to ensure it is only used as a last resort.

Schools have a clear duty not to discriminate against pupils under the Equality Act 2010. 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.

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