Robert Smith, Katie Pyle, Helen Aston
01 December 2012
NFER Teacher Voice omnibus survey investigated teachers’ understanding of exclusions policy and practice in schools in England. 1609 teachers completed the survey in November 2012, providing a nationally representative and up-to-date picture of practice. This work was undertaken for the Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC) as part of their Inquiry into School Exclusions.
The OCC also commissioned NFER to carry out focus groups with teachers and non-teaching professionals, to further explore their views and experiences of inequalities in exclusion from school and illegal exclusion practices. Our summary report can be found here.
- The most commonly reported exclusion practices were fixed-term and, to a much lesser extent, permanent exclusions for poor behaviour. 71 per cent of teachers said that their school had issued a fixed term exclusion for poor behaviour.
- A minority of schools were using practices that were not condoned by statutory guidance. For example, 22 per cent of teachers said that their school had encouraged pupils to move to a different school, without recording such a move as a permanent exclusion.
- Most teachers knew which exclusions practices are permitted by statutory guidance, but a sizable minority did not.
- The large majority of teachers told us that they had received training to help them meet the needs of particular vulnerable groups of pupils. However, a minority of teachers had not.
- Boys; pupils receiving free school meals; with SEN; and from certain ethnic groups are disproportionately excluded. Teachers’ suggested that this may be due to parental attitudes to learning and the social hinterland inhabited by some of these groups of learners. Some teachers cited issues such as the nature of the curriculum and indicated that schools had not responded to those learners’ needs, leading to disengagement and disaffection.