School exclusions

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • The number of children permanent excluded each year has fallen sharply in recent years and is now less than 100.
  • The rate of permanent exclusion is much lower in Scotland than in other regions of Great Britain, being ten times less than that in some of the English regions.

Definitions and data sources

All the graphs concern permanent exclusions only and do not include temporary exclusions (which are much higher but have much less of an obvious relationship with social exclusion).

The first graph shows the number of pupils permanently excluded each year.

The data (referred to as ‘removals from register’) was collected from local authorities via a new survey from September 1999 and data prior to that date is not considered comparable and thus has not been included in the graph.

The second graph shows how, for the latest year, the rate of permanent exclusions in Scotland compares with the rest of Great Britain.

The third graph shows how the proportion of pupils permanently excluded varies between those entitled to free school meals (a proxy for deprivation) and those who are not.

The source for the Scottish data in all the graphs is the dataset underlying the Scottish Government’s publications entitled Exclusion from schools and the data is for local authority schools only.  The data in the second graph for England and Wales is from Department for Education Statistical Bulletins and the Welsh Assembly Government’s publications entitled Exclusions from schools respectively.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  Exclusions are susceptible to administrative procedures; for example, these officially recorded numbers may well under-represent the true number of exclusions if parents are persuaded to withdraw their child rather than leave the school to exclude them.