Stats not entirely right

23rd November 2012 at 00:00

In your article about the views expressed by Jackie Brock and Alan McKenzie on the exclusion from school of looked-after children ("To exclude or not exclude, that is the question", 9 November), the reference to statistics was incorrect in one aspect. The number you attributed to "pupils" (32,776 in 2010-11) should have been labelled "instances" of exclusion. Some pupils are excluded on a number of occasions.

Mr McKenzie, SSTA general secretary, is quoted as saying that looked-after and accommodated children "seem impossible to exclude". This assertion is not supported by the statistics. The rate of instances of exclusion for all pupils reduced from 60 to 40 per 1,000 pupils in the past five years, while in the same period the rate for looked-after children fell from 339 to 326 per 1,000.

While the lower average attendance and higher rate of exclusion among looked-after children is a cause for concern, many looked-after children are good attenders and behave well in school. In fact, children who are "accommodated" in foster care have average attendance rates, mirroring those of all Scottish pupils. Attendance is, however, lower among children accommodated in residential homes.

The major cause for concern (in relation to attendance and exclusion) is with those looked-after children who are not in accommodation provided by local authorities. Last year there were 1,265 instances of exclusion among pupils supervised at home or with other relatives, compared with 351 and 296 instances respectively among those in foster and residential care.

Readers interested in the considered reflections of practitioners on school exclusion will find a helpful account in the recent report of the Pupil Inclusion Network Scotland, available at www.bit.ly10lJuJN

Graham Connelly, Strategic research and qualifying courses manager, Centre for excellence for looked after children in Scotland, University of Strathclyde.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today