Petition Independent inquiry into exclusions of Black children from school

Some Black boys are 168x's more likely to be permanently excluded from school than a white British girl. The same behaviour by another ethnicity/nationality results in in-house reprimand. Black children are over represented in PRU's. Black men with mental conditions are over represented in prisons.

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PRUs often do not meet academic, social or emotional needs. I believe many Black children are discriminated against through unlawful exclusion processes, despite having an Education Health Care Plan. Mass exclusions perpetuate the SCHOOLS to PRISON PIPELINE. Excluded children are vulnerable, at risk of being groomed into gangs, forced into county lines & child sexual exploitation. I want an independent inquiry and action to stop disproportionate and discriminatory exclusions of Black children.

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Government responded

This response was given on 3 July 2019

We have no plans for a further inquiry of exclusions of Black children; however, we will deliver an ambitious programme of reform on this important issue in response to the Timpson Review.

The government has no plans for a further independent inquiry into exclusions of children from school. However, this is an issue which the government takes seriously and we are committed to deliver an ambitious programme of reform in response to the recommendations of the Timpson Review of school exclusion.

The issues surrounding serious violence, anti-social behaviour, absence and exclusion from school are complex, and we are working with the education and care sectors, Home Office and other departments as part of a comprehensive, multi-agency response. Whilst exclusion is a marker for increased risk of being both a victim and perpetrator of crime, we must be careful not to draw a simple causal link between exclusions and crime, as there is no clear evidence to back this up.

The Timpson review was launched in response to the finding of the Race Disparity Audit that children from some ethnic groups are more likely to be excluded. The new and robust analysis undertaken for this stripped away other factors (such as economic disadvantage, special educational needs (SEN) or unsafe family environments) which could be increasing the likelihood of an individual child being excluded. The analysis found that controlling for a range of other identifiable factors, there are some ethnic groups whose likelihood of exclusion remains greater than others.

Timpson also found that, when other facts about their background are taken into account, children from some groups (such as Black Caribbean children) are more likely to be excluded than White British children, while children from some other groups (such as Indian children) are less likely to be excluded.

Timpson gave thorough consideration to recommendations on ethnicity. As well as the new analysis, the review is informed by a literature review (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/800028/Timpson_review_of_school_exclusion_literature_review.pdf) on disproportionate exclusion and Timpson chaired a roundtable about Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) exclusion. As part of this, Timpson met representatives as well as groups representing BAME. Timpson was also advised by a reference group which included representation from organisations representing BAME children.

The Government welcomes Timpson’s recommendations aimed at addressing differences in exclusion rates and the Government Response (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/800676/Timpson_review_of_school_exclusion__government_response.pdf) sets out a commitment to reduce disparities in exclusion rates between ethnic groups. Whilst Timpson did not identify single national drivers of disparity, he recommended that action should be taken locally to understand any patterns or trends where children with particular characteristics are more likely to be excluded.

We are calling on Directors of Children's Services, governing bodies, academy trusts and local forums of schools to understand local trends in the characteristics of children who leave schools, by exclusion or otherwise, to inform improvements in practice and reduce disparities. In revising our guidance to implement this, we will clarify our expectation that this information should be used to inform improvements in practice and reduce disparities, with particular reference to those groups more likely to experience exclusion nationally.

The guidance on exclusions (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/641418/20170831_Exclusion_Stat_guidance_Web_version.pdf) is clear that head teachers should make additional efforts to consider what extra support is needed to avoid exclusion for those groups with disproportionately high rates of exclusion, including those with SEN. In addition to this, the guidance states that head teachers should, as far as possible, avoid excluding permanently any pupil with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) as well as being encouraged to use multi-agency assessment for pupils who display persistent disruptive or anti-social behaviour, which could include pupils who have unidentified SEN.

When pupils are excluded and require alternative provision (AP) it is vital that they receive a high-quality education. In the autumn, we will set out plans to go further to improve outcomes for children in AP, including more on how we will support alternative providers to attract and develop high-quality staff through a new AP workforce programme, and how we will help commissioners and providers to identify and recognise good practice.

We are aware of concerns raised by BAME organisations about the analysis used for the review and the perceived lack of recommendations to address racial inequality. We will continue to engage with key BAME stakeholders in the implementation of Timpson’s recommendations, including in revising the guidance. We will seek their expertise and advice in helping frame questions around local trends in exclusion, and testing the language to ensure the conversations are constructive and helpful.

Department for Education.

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