Factors increasing exclusion risk (IncludED conference)

11 February 2019

At The Difference’s first IncludED conference in January, at which they formally launched their teacher training programme in exclusions risk reduction, Big Change attended a number of insightful sessions. You can read the overview of the whole day here.

We’ll be bringing you learnings from each session over the next few blogs.

Firstly, we’re kicking off with what we learnt about this issue area from the morning session on:

  • Factors that increase the risk of exclusion

This session featured the Education Policy Institute and Social Finance.

Racial Bias

Jo Hutchinson of EPI shared that little has changed since a 2009 report showing some pretty severe racial bias and institutionalised racism in the UK’s exclusion practices, with Black Caribbeans facing disproportionate exclusion rates.

Mental Health

Schools are often having to step in to take the place of CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), as referrals to CAMHS are rising, but so are wait times and rates of rejection for CAMHS services

Special Educational Needs

Those with SEN (Special Educational Needs) are more likely to be excluded from school. Our current system has no focus on the legality or ethics of supporting SEN students, and when schools have a high number of disadvantaged children enrolled, this is perceived as some sort of failure.


EPI will be releasing a paper on the predictors of exclusions in March but they’ve already found that exclusion via off-rolling (children unofficially being removed from school records) is on the rise – as are the rates of home education.

What we don’t know at this stage is whether parents had a meaningful choice in the matter. For example, did they actively pull their children out of school to be educated at home, or were they threatened with their child being excluded otherwise?

European Comparisons

When asked how the UK compares with other European countries in terms of exclusion rates, Hutchinson shared that the UK appears to be going in the way of the US, particularly in creating a school to prison pipeline via its exclusion practices. Did you know that one in two prisoners in the UK was excluded from school? That’s a scary stat that work by organisations like The Difference can change!

Look out for our next blog from the IncludED conference focusing on Abuse, Loss, Trauma, Attachment and Resilience (ALTAR).

The Difference are a Big Change project partner in the issues area Exclusions. Learn more about them on their website