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Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, responding to today’s latest data on school exclusions, said:

“The number of children in England being excluded permanently from school is still unacceptably high and the number of children being excluded temporarily is increasing.

“With many children out of school for six months as a result of the lockdown, I am worried that some will struggle to adjust to being back and that there could be a further rise in exclusions ahead. That is why I have called for an NHS-funded counsellor in every school.

“Excluding a child makes them more vulnerable to exploitation by criminal gangs and less likely to leave education with the qualifications they need to succeed. Talk to any child in prison or in trouble with the police and they will tell you that falling out of school was a trigger point. 85% of the children in Young Offender Institutions have been excluded.

“The majority of schools do excellent work supporting children and just 10 per cent of schools have been responsible for nearly 90% of exclusions. Exclusions should always be a last resort and the Government must give schools more support to keep children in school wherever possible, as well as doing more to identify the small number of schools who use exclusions to manipulate exam league tables.”

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