More than 80 per cent of permanently-excluded secondary pupils spend at least one term out of school, according to research for the charity Include.
The survey of local education authorities, social services staff and workers with young offenders, found expelled students were receiving inadequate education for long periods of time.
It recommends that councils appoint a young person's "champion" to get students back into mainstream school.
At key stage 1, 51 per cent of permanently-excluded pupils were out of school for more than one term and 21 per cent for more than two terms, the survey found. At key stage 3, 57 per cent of those excluded were out of school for more than one term and 25 per cent for moe than two terms.
Re-integration rates varied massively among local authorities, from 23 per cent to 100 per cent at primary level and from 9 to 100 per cent at secondary level.
The authors say that agencies need to get to grips with the complex nature of behavioural problems to ensure children return to mainstream schooling.
A total of 12,300 children were excluded in 1997-98. The Government wants to reduce exclusions by a third by 2002.
The NFER report, "Working out well: effective provision for excluded pupils", by Kay Kinder et al, costs pound;10 and is available from the publications department, National Foundation for Educational Research, The Mere, Upton Park, Slough, Berkshire SL1 2DQ