On Tuesday 24th September 2018 at 06:26am and repeated five times by 09.00am, BBC Scotland headlined:
‘A report commissioned by three charities suggests that over a third of children with autism have been unlawfully excluded from school in the past two years.’
This is an incorrect reading of the report suggesting 37% of all children with autism, with the effect of seriously exaggerating their evidence. On page 19, the report says:
‘We described unlawful exclusions to respondents as when a child has been sent home from school or asked not to attend, without being formally excluded (e.g. school asking parents to pick up their child early). 37% (n=478) of parents who responded to this question told us that their child had been excluded in this way.’
Note that 37% of the 478 parents who responded (176) indicated ‘unlawful’ exclusion. The full sample was 1 434 and that was thought to be around 10% of the total population of autistic pupils in Scotland (page 14).
So, more accurately and thus more informatively for the TV audience, the headline should have said:
‘A report commissioned by three charities suggests that over a third of the 478 children with autism whose parents responded have been unlawfully excluded from school in the past two years.’
More helpfully, the percentage should have been changed to 12% of those who took part in the research and the size of the sample, 10% of the total population, should have featured in the report.
More helpfully still, the deeply flawed research should not have been reported. See this for a full assessment of it: https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com/2018/09/25/report-used-uncritically-by-bbc-scotland-on-unlawful-school-exclusions-is-fatally-flawed-and-hopelessly-biased/