Academic Year 2018/19

Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England

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  1. Average number of fixed period exclusions per excluded pupil file - variable name average_days_fixed corrected to average_number_fixed

  2. Underlying data file covering average days lost added, Link to Timpson review of school exclusions added to pupil characteristics section

This publication presents statistics on permanent and fixed period exclusions within the 2018/19 academic year across state-funded schools.

The publication includes data on:

  • reasons schools report for excluding pupils
  • exclusions by different pupil characteristics
  • independent exclusion review panels
  • school level exclusions
  • exclusions from pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • exclusions for pupils with post looked after arrangements (PLAA)

The data has been collected in the school census. Data for earlier years is also included. The publication for the 2017/18 academic year can be found here


Headline facts and figures - 2018/19

Headline facts and figures from the 2018/19 academic year

  • The rate of permanent exclusions has remained at 0.10 in 2018/19.
  • The number of permanent exclusions has decreased by 11, to 7,894 permanent exclusions in 2018/19.
  • The rate of fixed period exclusions has increased, from 5.08 to 5.36 in 2018/19. This continues an increasing trend from 2013/14.
  • The number of fixed period exclusions has increased from 410,800 to 438,300.
  • Persistent disruptive behaviour is the most common reason for both permanent exclusions (35%) and fixed period exclusions (31%).

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Permanent exclusions

Permanent exclusion rate definition 

A permanent exclusion refers to a pupil who is excluded and who will not come back to that school (unless the exclusion is overturned). This data only includes permanent exclusions which have been upheld by the governing body or Independent Review Panel (IRP), and not those which are still ongoing. The permanent exclusion rate is calculated as the number of permanent exclusions divided by the number of pupils (x100)

The rate of permanent exclusions has remained stable

for a second successive year, at 0.10, and the number of permanent exclusions has reduced slightly, to 7,894 in 2018/19. This is equivalent to 10 pupils per 10,000. 

This rate has also remained fairly stable across all school types

  • The rate of permanent exclusions in primary schools was 0.02 (2 pupils per 10,000). This is a reduction from 0.03 in 2017/18
  • The rate of permanent exclusions in secondary schools was 0.20 (20 pupils per 10,000). This is unchanged from 2017/18 and 2016/17.
  • The rate of permanent exclusions in special schools was 0.06 (6 pupils per 10,000), a decrease from 0.07 in 2017/18

The rate of permanent exclusions followed a generally downward trend from 2006/07 when the rate was 0.12 (12 pupils per 10,000) until 2012/13, and began rising until 2016/17. The rate has been stable in 2017/18 and 2018/19. Despite the increases from 2012/13 to 2016/17, rates are still lower now than in 2006/07. 

Data on the number of exclusions in pupil referral units has been collected since 2013/14. The number of exclusions in pupil referral units has increased from 27 to 36 in 2018/19. The rate of permanent exclusions has increased to 0.16 in 2017/18 to 0.22 in 2018/19.

Fixed period exclusions

Fixed period exclusion rate definition

Fixed period exclusion refers to a pupil who is excluded from a school for a set period of time. A fixed period exclusion can involve a part of the school day and it does not have to be for a continuous period. A pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year. This total includes exclusions from previous schools covered by the exclusion legislation. 

The fixed period exclusion rate is calculated as the total number of fixed period exclusions, divided by the total number of pupils (x100).

Fixed period exclusions are increasing

The number of fixed period exclusions across all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools has increased by 7 per cent from 410,800 in 2017/18 to 438,300 in 2018/19. 

The resulting rate of fixed period exclusions has increased from 5.08 in 2017/18 to 5.36, which is equivalent to 536 pupils per 10,000. 

This increase has been mostly driven by secondary schools, while there has been a decrease for special schools

  • The rate of fixed period exclusions in primary schools increased from 1.40 to 1.41 between 2017/18 and 2018/19 (141 pupils per 10,000).
  • The rate of fixed period exclusions in secondary schools increased from 10.13 to 10.75 (1,075 pupils per 10,000).
  • The rate of fixed period exclusions in special schools decreased from 12.34 to 11.32 (1,132 pupils per 10,000).

These trends follow similar patterns to those seen in previous years, with decreases in special schools seen in all but one year (2016/17) since 2006/07. The increase in secondary continues a trend seen since 2013/14 and for primary, since 2012/13. 

The fixed period exclusion rate in pupil referral units has increased from 158.40 to 191.09 in 2018/19. This is the highest rate since data was first collected in 2013/14. This increase follows a drop in rate from 2016/17 to 2017/18.

Note: Numbers of exclusions for all school types include the total number of exclusions across the school year. Rates are calculated as a proportion of the headcount at January 2020. This may lead to higher rates for pupil referral units as pupils may have higher mobility between different settings. 

Reasons for exclusion

The most common reason for permanent exclusions is persistent disruptive behaviour

There were 2,800 permanent exclusions for this reason in 2018/19, accounting for just over a third (35%) of all permanent exclusions. This was a slight increase from 2017/18, following a decrease from 2016/17. Increases were also seen for drug and alcohol related exclusions, continuing a trend of increases. Exclusions for physical assault against a pupil, bullying and racist abuse stayed at similar levels, while all other reasons saw decreases.

Aside from persistent disruptive behaviour, the most common reasons for permanent exclusions were physical assault against a pupil (13%) and physical assault against an adult (10%).

 

Persistent disruptive behaviour was also the most common reason for fixed period exclusions

There were 137,900 fixed period exclusions for this reason in 2018/19, representing 31% of all fixed period exclusions. This is an increase from 123,100 (30%) in 2017/18. Increases were seen across most reasons, with the exception of bullying, sexual misconduct and theft.

Physical assault against a pupil (16%) and verbal abuse or threatening behaviour against an adult (15%) were the next most prominent reasons for fixed period exclusions.

Pupil characteristics

Boys have higher exclusion rates than girls

  • Boys have more than three times the number of permanent exclusions, with 6,000 permanent exclusions, at a rate of 0.14 compared to 1,900 for girls in 2018/19 (0.05).
  • The number and rate of permanent exclusions for boys has decreased, from 6,100 (0.15) in 2017/18. The number of permanent exclusions for girls has increased, from 1,800 in 2017/18 (0.05).
  • The rate of fixed period exclusions has risen for boys, from 7.23 to 7.55 and for girls from 2.83 to 3.08.

Exclusions peak at age 14

The permanent exclusion and fixed period exclusion rates generally increase as age increases, and are highest at age 14, for both the permanent exclusion rate (0.38) and fixed period exclusion rate (15.97), before reducing again.

Exclusion rates are higher among Free school meal (FSM) eligible pupils

  • The permanent exclusion rate for FSM eligible pupils is 0.27, compared to 0.06 for those not eligible.
  • The fixed period exclusion rate is higher also, at 13.76 for FSM eligible pupils, compared to 3.83 for those not eligible.

Exclusion rates are higher among special educational needs (SEN)  pupils

  • The permanent exclusion rate for SEN pupils with an education, health and care (EHC) plan is 0.15, and for pupils with SEN with no EHC plan (SEN support) is 0.32, compared to 0.06 for those wthout SEN.
  • The fixed period exclusion rate is higher also, at 16.11 for EHC pupils and 15.59 for SEN support pupils, compared to 3.57 for those not eligible.

Exclusion rates vary by ethnicity

  • As in previous years, pupils of Gypsy/Roma ethnic groups had the highest rates of both permanent (0.39) and fixed period exclusions (21.26), followed by Traveller of Irish heritage ethnic groups at 0.27 and 14.63 respectively. The fixed period exclusion rate for Travellers of Irish heritage has decreased from 17.42 to 14.63.
  • The fixed period exclusion rate has increased for all other ethnic groups, except Black Caribbean, and Irish.

Timpson Review of School Exclusion

The Timpson Review of School Exclusion published May 2019 was commissioned to examine how schools use exclusion and why some groups of children including ethnicity are more likely to be excluded from school. This report presents the findings of new analysis to assess the association between probability of being excluded and various pupil and school characteristics. The technical report can be found at - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/school-exclusions-review-call-for-evidence

Regional variations

Exclusion rates vary across local authorities and regions

The region with the highest fixed period and permanent exclusion rates is the North East. The fixed period rate is 8.00, compared to 5.36 nationally, however this has decreased from 9.34 in 2017/18. The permanent exclusion rate has increased in the North East, from 0.14 to 0.17 (17 pupils per 10,000), compared to 0.10 nationally (10 pupils per 10,000).

The lowest rate for fixed period exclusions is Outer London with 3.51, an increase from 3.39 in 2017/18. The lowest permanent exclusion rate is in the South East, at 0.06, unchanged from last year, 

Rates for local authorities are shown in the map below

Number and length of fixed period exclusions

Pupil enrolments with one or more fixed period exclusion

Pupils with one or more fixed period exclusion refer to pupil enrolments that had at least one fixed period exclusion across the full academic year. Dual registered pupils with exclusions in multiple schools have each of their enrolments considered separately. This allows for schools to be held accountable for exclusions, as the exclusions are attached to enrolments at a particular school, not the individual pupil. 

The rate of pupil enrolments with more than one session missed has increased from 2.33 to 2.44. This continues a rising trend seen since 2013/14. The chart below shows the rate over time, compared to the fixed exclusion rate.

The increase in fixed period exclusions has been driven most strongly by more pupils having repeated exclusions. 84,500 pupil enrolments had two or more fixed period exclusions in 2018/19, an increase from 78,900 in 2017/18.

Most fixed period exclusions are for a short duration

49% of all fixed period exclusions were for one day and 98% were for five days or less. This is similar to 2017/18.

Three quarters of pupils with one or more fixed period exclusion missed a total of a week or less

76% of pupils who had one or more fixed period exclusion missed a total of five days or less throughout the year, with 29% missing a single day.

Exclusion reviews

Independent review panel definition

Parents (and pupils if aged over 18) are able to request a review of a permanent exclusion. An independent review panel’s role is to review the decision of the governing body not to reinstate a permanently excluded pupil. The panel must consider the interests and circumstances of the excluded pupil, including the circumstances in which the pupil was excluded and have regard to the interests of other pupils and people working at the school.

In 2018/19, 661 reviews were lodged against permanent exclusions, an increase of 3.2% on 2017/18. Of these, 610 (92.3%) were determined by an independent review panel, down from 93.6% in 2017/18.

Of those determined by an independent review panel, 108 reviews (17.7%) were recommended reconsideration by the governing body (up from 16.0% in 2017/18).

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Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics

National statistics

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority designated these statistics as National Statistics in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Designation signifying their compliance with the authority's Code of Practice for Statistics which broadly means these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Once designated as National Statistics it's a statutory requirement for statistics to follow and comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics to be observed.

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

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If you have a specific enquiry about Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England statistics and data:

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