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Permanent exclusions of looked-after children at five-year low

Permanent exclusions of looked-after children fall, but rise in number of temporary exclusions


The proportion of looked-after children permanently excluded from school has dropped to its lowest rate in five years, according to new statistics.

The statistics published by the Department for Education today show that 0.1 per cent of looked-after children were permanently excluded from school in 2017, compared to 0.14 per cent in 2013.

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The permanent exclusion rate for looked-after children is now the same rate as for all children, but lower than the rate for children in need (0.23 per cent), who are non looked after children known to social services.

The fall in permanent exclusions for looked-after children comes as permanent exclusion rates overall have risen. With the proportion of all children being permanently excluded rising from 0.08 per cent to 0.1 per cent.

But looked-after children are more than five times more likely to have a temporary exclusion than all children, a similar proportion to last year.

In 2017, 11.8 per cent of looked-after children had at least one fixed-period exclusion, an increase from 11.4 per cent in 2016. The proportion of children in need who had a fixed period exclusion rose to 8.3 per cent from 7.7 in 2016, and the proportion of all children who had a fixed period exclusion rose to 2.3 per cent in 2017 from 2.1 per cent.

The DfE statistical release claims says that these rates may be a result of the current policy on exclusions. But this policy was not published until February 2018. It states that “head teachers should, as far as possible, avoid excluding any looked-after child”.

The statistics define a looked-after child as a child who has been continuously looked after by the local authority for at least 12 months.

A child in need is a child who has been referred to local authority children’s social services for services such as family support, leaving care support of disabled children’s services. Figures for children in need exclude those children who are also looked after but include children who were looked after who were also the subject of child protection plan.

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