Following on from the publication of the Timpson review into school exclusion earlier this year, a research team first established in 2014 has been granted £2.55 million to develop a ‘multi-disciplinary understanding of the political economies and consequences of school exclusion’.
The team’s initial findings highlighted links between exclusion patterns and pressures on schools, such as those to perform well in examination league tables. Going forward, the project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and led by the University of Oxford’s Department of Education, aims to reveal ways in which fairer and more productive outcomes can be achieved for all those concerned.
It will compare ways in which policies and practices differ in the four jurisdictions of the UK by examining the use of exclusions, along with their outcomes, from three angles. The first will analyse the use of interventions designed to prevent exclusion, along with the patterns and characteristics of exclusion practices themselves. The second will explore the experiences of pupils, their families and relevant education professionals. The final strand of the research aims to develop a ‘coherent, multi-disciplinary understanding of the findings’, addressing themes ranging from gender and ethnicity to disability and mental health.
This research is important given rising exclusion rates in England, while the respective figures for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales remain low or have fallen in recent years. Its findings could therefore make a significant contribution to our understanding of how to improve outcomes for those at risk of exclusion.