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Failing Our Most Vulnerable – Thoughts on FFT Repeat Suspensions & Exclusions Report

FFT have just published an analysis of repeat suspensions and exclusions across the life of students who started primary school in 2008 & 2009.

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The headline news is that both suspensions and exclusions are heavily weighted towards certain ethnic groups, those of the different Black, Gypsy/Roma & Irish heritage are around twice as likely to have been suspended at some point in their school life. This is well known, but still a stark reflection on the system.

Next, it looks at those who are suspended in primary school, and inevitably finds that the majority go on to be suspended again during their time, although not all – so perhaps for a small minority their first suspension works as a ‘shot across the bow’. It would be interesting to see an analysis of the characteristics of those that only have one suspension.

Finally, the most depressing stats are the proportion of the figures made up by a small group of ‘repeat offenders’:

2% of pupils in each cohort experienced 9 or more exclusions during their school career. Almost half of the total number of 739,000 exclusions relate to these pupils.

Similarly, 5% of pupils experience 4 or more exclusions during their school career. Over 75% of the total number of exclusions relate to these pupils.

That 2% of students are often stuck in mainstream school, without the support they truly need to successfully access it. The damage done to them is upsetting, needless to say their outcomes are generally terrible at the end of secondary school. Along the way, the disruption they cause to the learning of others is also unforgivable and a black mark on the quality of provision available to them. 

SEND and AP (alternative provision) provision has been underfunded for so many years. We can but hope that the SEND & AP Green Paper that was published alongside the Education White Paper leads to improved provision for our most vulnerable young people.

First published on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fft-repeat-suspensions-exclusions-daniel-stucke/

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