I sympathise very much. Schools which have space are in the nature of things vulnerable, and you are also affected by the fact that if a child has only been permanently excluded once, parental choice still operates, so even if there were other schools with space, that wouldn't protect you from students whose parents chose you. On second and subsequent exclusions the students have to go where directed, but if yours is the only school able to take them that doesn't help very much. The only helpful thing is that in second or subsequent exclusions there is provision for the receiving school to appeal if it has more than its share of excluded students and is in, or just emerging from, special measures, has had a severe letter following inspection, or very poor GCSE results.
Your loyalty to your area and your school is impressive and you should take comfort from the fact that your school provides such a supportive atmosphere for students who might otherwise not have had a second chance.
This at least is a valuable rescue operation which should make you very proud. The same students moving to another school "obsessed with status" might end up being excluded several times.
Send questions for Joan Sallis to The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX, fax 020 7782 3202, or see www.tes.co.ukgovernorsask_the_expert where answers will appear