The Parent’s Responses are in italics within the Terms of Reference below:

We have done a 5 minute survey on School Exclusion including School Refusal (Self Exclusin), and would be very grateful if you could take part. We would like to learn more about school exclusion in adopted and special guardianship children. and better understand about factors that may be associated with either exclusions or refusal.

Please click HERE to take part

Terms of Reference

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government will commission a review of school exclusions, the Secretary of State for Education has asked Edward Timpson to lead this review.

Good discipline in schools is essential to ensure that all pupils can benefit from the opportunities provided by their education. The Government supports head teachers in using exclusion as a sanction where it is warranted. This review will explore how head teachers use exclusion in practice, and why some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded. It will not seek to examine the powers head teachers have to exclude.

In 2015/16, 0.08% of children were permanently excluded from state funded schools in England but the rates for some children are much higher. The Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, which collates data on how different ethnic groups interact with public services, highlighted that pupils from some ethnic backgrounds are disproportionally more likely to be excluded from school. Black Caribbean pupils, for example, were permanently excluded at three times the rate of White British pupils. White Irish Traveller and Gypsy/Roma pupils had by far the highest rates of both fixed period and permanent exclusions.

All state funded schools in England operate under the same exclusions framework, as set out in legislation and statutory guidance. Despite this, there are differences in exclusion rates between schools, areas of the country, and pupils with different characteristics. This review will examine the factors that drive those differences. It will also explore and evaluate best practice for those areas where the disparities are less significant.

The review will consider the exclusion of groups of pupils that are identified in the national data as more likely to be excluded. For example, those ethnic groups highlighted in the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website; pupils who are eligible for free school meals, or have been eligible for free school meals in the last six years; pupils with special educational needs; looked after children; and children in need.

The terms of reference are to explore:

  • Practice in schools in relation to behaviour management and exclusions. This includes identifying effective approaches which improve outcomes, particularly for those groups disproportionately likely to be excluded;


By far the most effective strategy to improving behavior for our son, has always been to reduce demands and expectations. This challenges the widely-held perception that ‘behaviour’ needs to be dealt with through sanctions, firm boundary’s and discipline.

As a newly adopted child who would have scored 9/10 on the ACE scale, an understanding that this traumatic start in life will have impacted on his development, attachment and resilience should have been mandatory. He should have had significant differentiation at the start of his educational journey. Instead there was no understanding and no allowances were made at all. Looking back, our adopted child was set up to fail.

  • the exclusions process in schools. The review will explore how head teachers decide when to exclude and the role of governors in reviewing use of exclusion. It will not seek to curb the powers head teachers have to exclude but will examine the ways in which such powers are exercised;

Unfortunately, so little knowledge of early life trauma, attachment and resilience was held by management in our sons first school, and the board of governors weren’t able to effectively challenge this lack of training. It was easier to illegally exclude a child than deal with systemic failings.

Our son’s disruptive behavior was viewed as ‘naughty’ rather than ‘not coping’ so the wrong strategies were deployed. For example, prone restraint and seclusion were used routinely on our very small 5-year-old child who found the demands made on him too overwhelming. Luckily this has been documented. Things could have been very different if the cause of his distress was understood and kindness and care were used rather than these punitive measures.

If our child could have just played for as long as he needed to without pressure to perform, sit tests and compete with his peers academically, I believe his journey would have been entirely different. He needed to “heal” not “achieve academic excellence”

  • practice in schools in relation to directing pupils to alternative provision without excluding. This will include whether this is effective and the impact on pupils who are disproportionately likely to be excluded;

Our child was ‘managed out’ of 3 schools, 2 of them specialist schools. It is a complete misconception that if you move a child out of 1 establishment that it will all be fine somewhere else. It also suggests that the number of children pushed out of education is far higher than official statistics suggest as it happened to us 3 times.

If as much effort had been made to support our son in education rather than exclude him from it, we wouldn’t have a 15-year-old too terrified to set foot in a learning environment today.

Having been out of education for the duration of secondary school, it has been a continual battle to make him feel that he is valued and loved and part of a family that will support him unconditionally.

There is nothing effective about rejecting a child from society.

  • the drivers behind the variation in exclusion rates of pupils of different ethnic groups and other disproportionately represented groups, and the consequences of this;
  • the drivers behind geographic variation in exclusion rates, particularly between areas with similar characteristics;
  • the drivers behind the variation in exclusion rates between schools with a similar intake;
  • best practice in managing exclusions and interventions across local areas, such as the use of managed moves and fair access protocols;

I can’t comment on this as I am unaware what best practice looks like. But surely best practice is to not have exclusion as an option.

  • how current exclusions practice supports effective joint working, including between schools, health services, children’s social care and virtual school heads;

I would be extremely surprised if any health or social care professional could think it OK to exclude a child from society rather than put effective support in place. Even if that means the child is taken to play football or make cakes rather than be in an academic classroom. Whatever cost is attached to this will be substantially cheaper the cost of not being part of society further down the line!

  • how the parent and pupil experience of exclusion varies and best practice in engaging parents and pupils effectively in the exclusions process;
  • the steps taken by schools to ensure that their behaviour and exclusion practices are compliant with duties under the Equality Act 2010; and
  • the guidance in place to ensure effective use of exclusion and the safeguards to ensure exclusions do not disproportionately affect certain groups of pupils.

Edward Timpson will be supported by an expert reference group. The group will provide expertise on the school system and perspectives of pupils more likely to be excluded.


The review will aim to report by the end of 2018. The review will launch with a call for evidence, which will run until 6 May. The review will report to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Education.

Please click HERE to take part in our 5 minute Survey