End the disproportionate rate of exclusions
In Ealing, Black Caribbean pupils are over-represented in suspensions from primary and high schools:
- On average across the 3 years to 2020-21, 12.1% of the suspensions from high schools compared to 3.6% of the high school population.
- 13.6% of the suspensions from primary schools, compared to 3% of the primary school population.
- Black Caribbean pupils are also over-represented in permanent exclusion figures from Ealing high schools, 16.7% of the permanent exclusions in the 3 years to 2020-21.
Somali pupils have also been over-represented in suspensions from primary and high schools:
- On average across the 3 years to 2020-21, 16.7% of the suspensions from high schools, compared to 7.8% of the high school population.
- 9.3% of the suspensions from primary schools, compared to 6.2% of the primary school population.
- Somali pupils were over-represented in permanent exclusion figures from high schools in 1 of the 3 years, 16.7% of the permanent exclusions, compared to 7.8% of the population.
- 8% of the suspensions for Black Caribbean pupils were categorised as for ‘persistent breaches’,
- 17% for ‘a serious breach’.
- 6% of the suspensions for Somali pupils were categorised as ‘persistent breaches’,
- 19% for ‘a serious breach’.
Strategies for reducing the disproportionate rate of exclusions
Reducing disproportionality in suspensions and exclusions requires concerted focus on behaviour policies and systems of reward and sanctions. Schools that have managed to bring down exclusions have focused their attention on parental engagement systems; staff training; pastoral support and whole school culture for supporting positive behaviour.
Some schools have adopted therapeutic thinking models to create stronger relational behaviour support models.
A first step for school leaders is to analyse trends in data over time such as suspensions and permanent exclusions. However, it is also important to consider data in relation to the schools’ behaviour policy as this data can provide important insights into disproportionality trends.
Key considerations include:
- Application of the behaviour policy including both rewards and sanctions, for Black Caribbean pupils and Somali compared with the school average.
- How do they compare? Is there an over/under representation of Black Caribbean pupils or Somali pupils in the data reviewed?
- What actions is the setting/school taking if disproportionate numbers of Black Caribbean learners or Somali learners are identified?
- Suspensions and permanent exclusion figures for Black Caribbean and Somali pupils compared to all pupils in the school and local and national data
- If an ‘internal inclusion’ room is used, then how does the number and percentage of Black Caribbean pupils and Somali pupils compare to all pupils in the school? If the number of Black Caribbean pupils and Somali pupils is disproportionately high, what is the reason or this?
To truly understand the reasons behind the disproportionality it is essential to involve and consult with focused groups of pupils, parents and staff.
Possible questions for Black Caribbean and Somali pupils could include:
- Do you know how well you are learning and how to improve more? Do you think you are making good progress in learning?
- What happens if you do some very good work in your subject?
- What is the quality of the relationships and interactions with the range of adults within the school, including form tutors, subject teachers, lunchtime staff, senior leaders? e.g. genuine, warm, respectful?
- How do teachers acknowledge and celebrate your, and other students, positive behaviour? Are there any variations from lesson to lesson? What is behaviour like outside of lessons?
- How and when are the schools’ rewards and sanctions applied?
- Do you or any of your friends attend the Inclusion room or an alternative provision for part of the week? If so, why were you/they selected and how it has helped them? What could be improved?
Possible questions for Black Caribbean and Somali parents and staff could include:
- How effective is the school’s communication and partnership with Black Caribbean and Somali parents?
- How effective is the schools’ behaviour policy in acknowledging and celebrating Black Caribbean and Somali pupils’ positive behaviour?
- How effective and fairly applied are the schools’ rewards and sanctions system for Black Caribbean and Somali pupils?
- If your child has needed help with their learning, what kind of help and support has been given, and has this made a difference? What could be improved?
- How do the staff communicate their high aspirations for your child’s future?
- What is the quality of the relationships and interactions between staff and pupils, and staff and parents? What could be improved?
- The Experience of Black Caribbean Pupils in School Exclusion in England - Feyisa Demie (2019)
- Timpson Review of School Exclusions May 2019