Never exclude the idea that numbers tell different stories

The debate on social media about the DfE’s figures on permanent exclusions demonstrates how the same set of figures can be interpreted differently, writes Christian Bokhove

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I would argue that a good and transparent knowledge of numbers is an important skill to have for any person, but particularly teachers and school leaders.

This became apparent when the Department for Education published its yearly figures on exclusions. These numbers led to passionate debates on social media about whether they should give rise to concerns. Most of these discussions seemed related to absolute and relative numbers.

Let’s have a closer look at the figures for permanent exclusions.

For 2015-2016 to 2016-2017, the absolute number of permanent exclusions rose from 6,685 to 7,720 – ...

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