Exclusions review: call for evidence

Closes 6 May 2018

Opened 16 Mar 2018


The Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, which collates data on how different ethnic groups interact with public services, highlighted that pupils from some ethnic backgrounds are disproportionally more likely to be excluded from school. Black Caribbean pupils, for example, were permanently excluded at three times the rate of White British pupils. White Irish Traveller and Gypsy/Roma pupils had by far the highest rates of both fixed period and permanent exclusions.

Good discipline in schools is essential to ensure that all pupils can benefit from the opportunities provided by their education. The Government supports head teachers in using exclusion as a sanction where it is warranted. This review will explore how head teachers use exclusion in practice, and why some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded. It will not seek to examine the powers head teachers have to exclude.

All state funded schools in England operate under the same exclusions framework, as set out in legislation and statutory guidance. Despite this, there are differences in exclusion rates between schools, areas of the country, and pupils with different characteristics. This review will examine the factors that drive those differences. It will also explore and evaluate best practice for those areas where the disparities are less significant.

The review will consider the exclusion of groups of pupils that are identified in the national data as more likely to be excluded. For example, those ethnic groups highlighted in the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website; pupils who are eligible for free school meals, or have been eligible for free school meals in the last six years; pupils with special educational needs; looked after children; and children in need.

The scope of the review includes:

  • Practice in schools in relation to behaviour management and exclusions. This includes identifying effective approaches which improve outcomes, particularly for those groups disproportionately likely to be excluded;
  • the exclusions process in schools. The review will explore how head teachers decide when to exclude and the role of governors in reviewing use of exclusion. It will not seek to curb the powers head teachers have to exclude but will examine the ways in which such powers are exercised;
  • practice in schools in relation to directing pupils to alternative provision without excluding. This will include whether this is effective and the impact on pupils who are disproportionately likely to be excluded;
  • the drivers behind the variation in exclusion rates of pupils of different ethnic groups andother disproportionately represented groups, and the consequences of this;
  • the drivers behind geographic variation in exclusion rates, particularly between areas with similar characteristics;
  • the drivers behind the variation in exclusion rates between schools with a similar intake;
  • best practice in managing exclusions and interventions across local areas,such as the use of managed moves and fair access protocols;
  • how current exclusions practice supports effective joint working, includingbetween schools, health services, children’s social care and virtual school heads;
  • how the parent and pupil experience of exclusion varies and best practice in engaging parents and pupils effectively in the exclusions process;
  • the steps taken by schools to ensure that their behaviour and exclusion practices are compliant with duties under the Equality Act 2010; and
  • the guidance in place to ensure effective use of exclusion and the safeguards to ensure exclusions do not disproportionately affect certain groups of pupils.

Edward Timpson CBE writes:

I am seeking views and evidence on the points set out in the scope of this review. This is not a consultation on any specific proposals as the review is in its early stages. Instead, I would like to gather evidence from as wide a range of sources as possible to inform my findings.

I would like to hear from schools, including alternative providers, colleges, education professionals and local authorities about practice and evidence. I would like to hear about the experiences and perspectives of parents, carers and voluntary and community organisations which represent those pupils more likely to be excluded.

I welcome the views of children and young people. There will be further opportunities for children and young people to provide their views during the course of the review but where they would like to take part in this call for evidence I welcome this.

The information gathered through this call for evidence will inform my final report at the end of the year.


Why We Are Consulting

Edward Timpson CBE, a former Government Children’s Minister, is seeking views and evidence on school exclusion practice in England. The review will explore the drivers of exclusion rates and, in particular, the factors that drive the disproportionate exclusion of some groups of pupils. Amongst others, this includes pupils from certain ethnic groups; pupils who are eligible for free school meals, or have been eligible for free school meals in the last six years; those with special educational needs; looked after children; and children in need.

Give Us Your Views


  • Teachers
  • Headteachers
  • Governors
  • School support staff
  • Early learning and childcare providers
  • Local authorities
  • Further education colleges
  • Sixth form colleges
  • Designated institutions and 16-19 academies
  • 16-18 year old students resident at these institutions
  • Virtual school heads
  • SENCOs
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Pupils
  • Young people
  • Parents
  • Foster carers
  • Adoptive parents
  • Community representatives
  • Volunteers
  • Social workers
  • Unions and representative organisations
  • Government bodies and departments
  • Those evaluating programmes for children in need
  • Those involved in underlying theoretical research on abuse and neglect, child development etc
  • Those researching children’s social care or education systems, with links to educational outcomes of Children in Need
  • Social workers
  • Team managers
  • Service managers
  • Principle social workers
  • Directors of children's services
  • Adult and mental health practitioners
  • School nurses


  • Education
  • Adoption
  • Fostering
  • National Curriculum
  • GCSE subject content
  • GCE AS and A level subject content
  • Early learning and childcare
  • Early years foundation stage
  • Key stage 1
  • Key stage 2
  • Performance tables
  • Accommodation (Looked after children)
  • Advocacy (Looked after children)
  • Care leavers and former looked-after children
  • Friends and family care
  • Health and wellbeing (Looked after children)
  • Programmes and initiatives (Looked after children)
  • Special guardianship
  • Support in education
  • Academy sponsorship
  • Converting to an academy
  • Free Schools, studio schools and University technical colleges
  • Setting up an academy or free school
  • Academies
  • Governance
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Intervention
  • Planning
  • Pupil data
  • Statutory policies and guidance
  • Alternative provision
  • Attendance and absence
  • Behaviour and discipline
  • Disabled children
  • SEND code of practice
  • Teaching and learning (SEND)
  • Participation of young people in education, employment and training
  • Equality
  • Accountability