Summary statistics for schools in Scotland no. 8: 2017 edition

Results of the annual pupil census, annual teacher census, and data on early learning and childcare, school estates, attendance, absence and exclusions.

Chapter 8: Exclusions

  • 18,381 cases of exclusion in 2016/17, down from 18,430 in 2014/15
  • 26.8 cases of exclusion per 1,000 pupils in 2016/17, down from 27.2 in 2014/15

In Scotland, the power exists to exclude children and young people from school where it is considered that to allow the child or young person to continue attendance at school would be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school or the educational wellbeing of the learners there. However, the number of exclusions has been falling since 2006/07.

Table 8.1 below provides information on the number of cases of exclusion in recent academic years. Cases of exclusion refers to the number of incidences of exclusion, not the number of individual pupils excluded, as a pupil can be excluded multiple times. Information on exclusions was not collected in 2011/12, 2013/14 or 2015/16, as this data is now collected only once every two years. Over 99 per cent of all exclusions are for a fixed period of time, referred to here as temporary exclusions, and pupils are expected to return to their original school when the exclusion period is completed. In a small number of cases, 1 in 2016/17, an excluded pupil is 'removed from the register'. When this occurs a pupil does not return to their original school and will be educated at another school or in some other educational provision.

Table 8.1: Cases of exclusion and rate per 1,000 pupils by type of exclusion

  2010/11 2012/13 2014/15 2016/17(1)
Exclusions in total 26,844 21,955 18,430 18,381
Of which:
Temporary exclusions 26,784 21,934 18,425 18,376
Removed from register 60 21 5 5
Exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils 40.0 32.8 27.2 26.8
Of which
Temporary exclusion rate 39.9 32.7 27.2 26.8
Removed from register rate 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0

(1) The exclusions in total figure and the removed from register figure were updated in June 2018 to take into account 4 pupils removed from the register who were not included in the original analysis.

The exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils, for pupils who have an additional support need, is more than 4 times higher than those who have no additional support needs. Deprivation also plays an important factor in the likelihood of exclusion. Rates of exclusions per 1,000 pupils are more than 5 times greater for pupils living in the 20 per cent of areas associated with most deprivation, compared with pupils living in the 20 per cent associated with least deprivation, as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Table 8.2: Cases of exclusion and rate per 1,000 pupils by characteristic

  Cases of exclusions (2) Rate per 1,000 pupils
Male 14,665 42.0
Female 3,712 11.1
Additional Support Needs (1)
Pupils with Additional Support needs 11,352 66.6
Pupils with no Additional support needs 6,879 13.4
Lowest 20% of SIMD (Most deprived) 7,436 48.5
Highest 20% of SIMD (Least deprived) 1,226 9.1

(1) Pupils that were not matched to the Pupil Census have not been included.
(2) The exclusions figures do not include 4 pupils who were removed from the register. See background note for more information.


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