Permanent school exclusions in Tory England soar to thousands of times more than in Scotland


Note: Thanks to reader, the urgent BIGJON999, for alerting me to this.

Permanent school exclusions from Scottish schools have been falling in the period of SNP government. In 2006/7, 248 pupils were permanently excluded, and the figure has fallen steadily to only 5 in 2016/17.

In England, even national figures from the Department for Education indicate that 6 685 pupils were permanently excluded in 2015/16. That would be a staggering one thousand three hundred times more than in Scotland, but the problem may be even more serious:

‘A study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank claims these figures mask the true scale of the problem, with pupils forced out of mainstream schools by informal methods that are not captured in national exclusions data. The report, published on Tuesday, says 48,000 pupils are being educated in the alternative provision (AP) sector, which caters for excluded students, with tens of thousands more leaving school rolls in what appear to be illegal exclusions.’

If correct, English schools are permanently excluding pupils at nearly ten thousand times the rate in Scotland – 8% of the population but only 0.010416% of the permanent school exclusions.

Just one of the reasons why school exclusions need to be minimised is revealed in a further Guardian article:

‘Excluding children from school may lead to long-term psychiatric problems and psychological distress, a major new study has shown. The research by the University of Exeter also finds that poor mental health can lead to school exclusion. The study found a “bi-directional association” between psychological distress and exclusion: children with psychological distress and mental health problems were more likely to be excluded but their exclusion acted as a predictor of increased psychological distress three years later on.’

Previously, I’ve written about possible differences between life in Scotland and that in England with a view to suggesting Scotland is becoming a more collectivist, communitarian, inclusive place, maybe even a ‘better nation’, while poor England, especially under (under is the word) the Tories, is becoming a more divided, unequal and brutal place. Here are earlier reports suggesting a difference that makes a difference:

Scotland takes nearly 26% of Syrian refugees settled in UK with only 8% of the UK population

58 000 baby boxes to help increase life chances and now Scotland will be the first country in the world to provide free sanitary products to ‘end period poverty’. This is the kind of country I want to live in.

Scots the least respectful of the upper classes: More evidence of a difference that makes a difference?

Scientific evidence that Scots tend to be different from the other groups in rUK?

Racial hate crimes increase by 33% in England & Wales while falling by 10% in Scotland: Who says we’re not different?

‘Scottish tooth fairies are the most generous.’ See, even more evidence we are different.

Who said Scots were not more left-wing than those in the rest of the UK?




9 thoughts on “Permanent school exclusions in Tory England soar to thousands of times more than in Scotland

  1. William Henderson September 1, 2018 / 9:22 am

    If only we can repeal the Acts of Union, then we’ll be REALLY different!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Alasdair Macdonald September 1, 2018 / 11:01 am

    Permanent exclusions are very difficult for a school to achieve – and so it should be. We are dealing here with a basic human right, the right to education. Of course the safety of other children and of staff and their rights have to be safeguarded, too. Usually, before things reach the stage of permanent exclusion (or ‘removal from the roll’) the child has been involved in a number of matters causing concern and a range of actions will have been undertaken, one of which is that the parents/guardians and child agree to attend some other bona fide form of education, which will still permit the young person to achieve some qualifications.

    Negotiating these steps can be fraught and there are often frayed emotions and tears. Nevertheless they are being negotiated on a daily basis and most of the young people concerned do respond positively. A large part of this is the natural effects of maturation.

    Those who are formally removed from the roll are placed in bona fide alternative provision. Very few actually vanish from the system. But those who vanish from the system are not mainly young people with disruptive conduct, although some are. They are parts of families who are usually dysfunctional in some way – often involving domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse – who just do ‘moonlights’. Some are traced, eventually, when they are enrolled in schools elsewhere in Scotland, or in other parts of the UK. But, some simply vanish.

    As you point out, the actual proportion falling into these categories is very small. However, by investing funds into dealing constructively with them, we reduce the chances of further problems later. It is has been estimated that for each £1 in earlier years, £7 is saved in later years because there are fewer imprisonments, less NHS costs, less costs of crime and less costs of supporting any children they have in later years.

    Historically, such community interventions in families has been in practice in Scotland since the Reformation. When John Knox set up Kirk Sessions, they were charged with looking after the morals of their communities. Of course, there were the hypocrisies of the ‘unco guid’, guyed by Burns, who was brought before the Kirk Session a few times, for fornication! However, they did have an influence on establishing reasonable social behaviour as a norm. In addition, they were not primarily punitive. They were about redemption, which in these modern secular times, is facilitating people to live respectfully with their fellow citizens.

    The Violence Reduction Unit is quite clear, that the earlier we intervene with children, then the greater the chances we have of preventing serious violence and other criminality in later years.

    However, we must ensure that people have enough to live on and good war, dry accommodation in peaceful communities.

    Hillary Clinton was right: it takes a village to raise a child.

    Liked by 2 people

    • johnrobertson834 September 1, 2018 / 1:01 pm

      We learn much from your experience here. The figures are so dramatic I wondered if I had misread.


      • Alasdair Macdonald September 1, 2018 / 1:44 pm

        Councils are still the education authorities in Scotland and have a duty to provide education for young people and to ensure that parents fulfil their legal duties, too.

        In England, councils have had almost all responsibilities for education removed from them and various trusts now provide education services and, in practice have powers of selection, but no responsibility to provide alternatives for those excluded.

        The population of England is so large and a fair tranche is itinerant. So it is hard to trace children missing from school and this is compounded by the severe reductions in staffing of public services. In the Grenfell Tower atrocity (and I have chosen that word deliberately) it proved very difficult to know who actually lived there.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Contrary September 1, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    Those figures are astounding, and quite tragic for England. Thank you for your insights Alasdair, very much a useful contribution.

    I’ve been trying to find comparison numbers on ‘wrongful imprisonment’ (it’s an American term) throughout the world for a while now – but if appears there aren’t any. I found this article:

    Wrongful convictions – numbers by country

    But it is very much anecdotal, I.e. The researcher counted the numbers reported in newspapers, not the most reliable sources – then, obviously, you have to take into account the judicial processes in the country – does it even allow for appeals? So the whole list doesn’t really tell us much for comparisons. America is top of the list with over a thousand – remember these are people that have been in jail and had their lives torn apart for sometimes decades when they didn’t do anything at all to deserve it. Next on the list is England, over 900, I was quite shocked by that to tell the truth, Scotland is way down the list with 4. Assuming these 3 countries have similar types of reporting & appeals processes, the differences look quite stark. But, as I said, it is a bit anecdotal and I wouldn’t like to read too much into it. If someone can give greater insight please do. I am of the belief that certain unique aspects of the Scottish judicial system – corroboration, 15 jurors and some other stuff, I forget what now – make it less likely you will be jailed for a serious crime. If you didn’t do it, that is. If you did do it, you will get jailed, of course.

    I’ve been on a link- gathering frenzy:

    Conservative Ashley no to yes

    Very interesting No to Yes, I commented on Pater Bell’s blog a few weeks back that there should be a Tories for Yes group (he was impressed. Or at least, didn’t ply me with dismissive sarcasm). I know there are tons of diverse yes groups, but this is an active politician coming out as Yes – maybe the unionist base will crumble, the flood has started. (Yeah yeah).

    Colin Dunn supporting Indy Kits for Yes Groups
    Go-on, give more more more, leaflets and all sorts, how else are the rest of our deluded BBC-only-watching compatriots going to know they are being conned and it’s okay to love yourself and your country after all, with all their foibles??

    In case you want to get a summary of things to do with novichok, I found these Easy-to-read articles on the Skripal affair, questioning the official line, ties in with things Craig Murray has said, and quite brief (! Imagine !) :

    Did you catch the business for Scotland article on GERS? I found it easy to understand a clearly explained – a nicely focused take on how you just need to take one example to demonstrate its fallacy:

    If Ludo is listening in – you gave us a wee news piece on SLPs (Scottish limited partnerships) and the Russian state investigating oligarchs using them to launder money a while back – I’ve found plenty background info on SLPs , but not that exact news item – don’t suppose you can find it for me? Sounds like laws need to change to stop their misuse (and blackening the Scotland brand)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 September 2, 2018 / 5:20 pm

      Fantastic stuff Contrary! Like Ludo, thought about your own blog? I’d reblog, retweet and share in.


      • Contrary September 2, 2018 / 7:07 pm

        Thank you 🙂

        As to my own blog, I think I’m with Ludo on this – too badly organised! We had a chat while you were off galavanting on holiday, and established that our organisational skills were not sufficient.

        I think being consistent with posting, as you are, is important for keeping up site traffic and to stop a drift away. I just couldn’t keep that up, like with my big brain-spew (new term) there, it all gets stored up in a muddle, mulled over then I have to find a way to give it some kind of coherence. You have to consider your audience, the message you want to get across, how you should phrase it, if you are producing your own articles – and I think most people want commentary on current events, not some random theory or thought. As a comment, hidden, I can get away with brief speculations (and bad grammar and spelling), with the hope that on occasion someone finds it interesting, or better, makes them think alternatively, without me actually having to be too coherent. I would be tangled in a mess trying to perfect something that didn’t need it if I was trying to do my own blog. …I’m still learning anyway.

        I do think me and Ludo take a bit of advantage here, I doubt any other blogger would be that happy with huge irrelevant postings in their comments, but I hope that we do contribute something to the wider readership community by doing so, and I think we keep each other sane by not focusing too obsessively on any one part of the key issue (a way to convince others that independence for Scotland is the best way to go, and always will be)? That can be done of course however many blogs we all have, but managing expectations has to be priority and I couldn’t manage another thing in my life at this time, so I make do with doing what little I can. I wish I could do more!

        Also, your blog has a good, feel to it, a bit of ‘safe space’ feeling. Maybe one of the reasons the site traffic has picked up so much? I’m still a huge believer in the positive message having the biggest influence on scots believing in themselves and knowing there is nothing to fear in being in charge of our own affairs – few of us would know half the stuff you report on here, and likely wouldn’t have taken a positive view on the bits we did know about!

        The short answer is: yes, thought about it, and nah, decided against it (for now) 😉 but thank you for the offers of reblogging etc.

        Liked by 1 person

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