1.1 Requirements for schools
The headteacher of a school can exclude a pupil on disciplinary grounds only.
Good discipline in schools is essential to ensure all pupils can benefit from the opportunities provided by education.
The decision to exclude a pupil must be lawful, reasonable and fair. In addition, schools have a statutory duty not to discriminate against pupils on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability or race.
Schools and LAs must arrange alternative provision from the sixth day of the exclusion of pupils of compulsory school age.
For further information: Statutory guidance: school attendance.
1.2 Uses and users of exclusion statistics and data
The data used to publish exclusions statistics is collected via the school census which is used by a variety of companies and organisations including:
- mainstream and specialist media companies
- housing websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla
- specialist publications such as the good schools guide
- data analysis organisations such the Fischer Family Trust
- academic research and think tank organisations such as Durham University and the Education Policy Institute
- central government organisations such as DfE, Ofsted and other government departments
The published data is also used in answers to parliamentary questions and public enquiries - including those made under the Freedom of Information Act.
1.3 Current publications
DfE publishes annual exclusions data via the Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England National Statistics release in July each year.
Links to all exclusions publications can be found in Annex C.
1.4 Key exclusion measures
DfE monitors pupil exclusion levels using key measures based on two types of exclusion - permanent and fixed-period.
Permanent exclusion refers to a pupil who's excluded and who will not come back to that school (unless the exclusion is overturned).
Fixed-period exclusion refers to a pupil who's excluded from a school for a set period of time.
A fixed-period exclusion can involve a part of the school day and 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.
Pupils with one or more fixed period exclusions refers to pupils who have at least one fixed-period exclusion across the full academic year.
It includes those with repeated fixed-period exclusions.
For further information: 3.1 Calculation of exclusion rates.
1.5 Cohort used in exclusion measures
Exclusions information relates to all exclusions reported across the full academic year.
However, exclusion rates are calculated as a proportion of all pupils on roll as at the January Census day of the relevant academic year.
1.6 Lunch time exclusions
DfE also collects lunch time exclusions via the school census. This is where a pupil whose behaviour at lunchtime has been disruptive such that they are excluded from the school premises for the duration of the lunchtime period.
However, these figures are not reported in published exclusions statistics and they're not included in fixed-period exclusion totals.
1.7 Published geographical and characteristics breakdowns
DfE routinely publishes pupil exclusions information at national and local authority level including breakdowns by pupil characteristics.
School level data is also released but it should be noted that DfE does not hold individual schools to account based purely on their exclusion figures and does not set exclusion thresholds or targets on the use of exclusion.
Ofsted assesses schools' use of exclusion as part of inspection arrangements.
A list of all routinely published breakdowns is available in Annex D.
1.8 Appeals and reviews relating to permanent exclusion
In addition to permanent and fixed-period exclusions figures, releases also include information on the number of appeals and reviews relating to permanent exclusions reported by local authorities (LAs).
For further information: 3.3 Appeals and reviews relating to permanent exclusions.
1.9 Underlying data provided alongside publications
From the 2008/09 academic year, each release has been accompanied by underlying data, including national, local authority and school level information.
Alongside the underlying data there's an accompanying document (metadata) which provides further information on the contents of these files.
1.10 Suppression of exclusions data
The Code of Practice for Statistics requires reasonable steps are taken to ensure all published or disseminated statistics produced by DfE protect confidentiality.
In this release figures in underlying data files are not rounded or suppressed, except for the figures on Post Looked After Arrangements, which are treated the same way as other statistics on Children Looked After. In the commentary percentages are rounded for brevity.
|Symbols used to identify this in published tables:|
|c||Small number suppressed to preserve confidentiality|
In old publications different rounding and suppression conventions were used.
To assist users a full time series of data has been made available within the latest published time series tables and underlying data.
1.11 Other related publications
Pupil exclusions information is also available in the following publications:
- A profile of pupil exclusions in England - research report published in February 2012 with in-depth analysis of exclusions
- other releases published by DfE:
1.12 Devolved administration statistics on absence
DfE collects and reports on exclusions information from schools in England.
For information for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: