Information

Summary Statistics For Schools In Scotland 2021

Headline statistics from the annual pupil and teacher census and early learning and childcare provision conducted in September 2021 and attendance, absence and exclusions for the 2020 to 2021 school year.

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Chapter 7: Exclusions

8,323 cases of exclusion in 2020/21, down from 14,990 in 2018/19

11.9 cases of exclusion per 1,000 pupils in 2020/21, down from 21.7 in 2018/19

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. The Scottish Government published detailed guidance on managing school exclusions in June 2017.

Information on exclusions was not collected in 2011/12, 2013/14, 2015/16, 2017/18 or 2019/20 as this data is collected only every two years.

Table 7.1 below provides information on the number of cases of exclusion in recent academic years (statistics from before the 2010/11 school year are available in the supplementary tables). 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. Both the cases of exclusion and the exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils have fallen in recent years.

Cases of exclusion have fallen from high of 44,794 in 2006/07 to 8,323 in 2020/21. There was a particularly notable decrease in exclusion between 2018/19 and 2020/21, with cases of exclusion falling 44%. This decrease is partly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many local authorities citing the lower amount of time spent in school as a reason for the reduction in their case numbers.

Over 99% of all exclusions were for a fixed period of time, referred to here as temporary exclusions, with pupils expected to return to their original school when the exclusion period is completed. In a small number of cases, one in 2020/21, 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 7.1: Cases and rate of exclusion by type of exclusion, 2010/11 to 2020/21
2010/11 2012/13 2014/15 2016/17(1) 2018/19 2020/21
Exclusions in total 26,844 21,955 18,430 18,381 14,990 8,323
Of which:
Temporary exclusions 26,784 21,934 18,425 18,376 14,987 8,322
Removed from register 60 21 5 5 3 1
Exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils 40 32.8 27.2 26.8 21.7 11.9
Of which
Temporary exclusion rate 39.9 32.7 27.2 26.8 21.7 11.9
Removed from register rate 0.1 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(1) The exclusions in the total and the removed from register figures for 2016/17 were updated in June 2018 to take into account 4 pupils removed from the register who were not included in the original analysis.

Table 7.2 shows cases of exclusion and exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils broken down by the excluded pupils’ characteristics.

The exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils was more than three times higher for male pupils (18.2 cases of exclusion per 1,000) than female pupils (5.3 cases of exclusion per 1,000).

Having an additional support need also increases the likelihood of exclusion. The rate of exclusion for pupils with an additional support need was 25.5 exclusions per 1,000 pupils in 2020/21, almost five times the rate for pupils without an additional support need (5.3 exclusions per 1,000 pupils).

Living in an relatively more deprived area was also associated with a higher exclusion rate. Rates of exclusions per 1,000 pupils were almost four times greater for pupils living in the 20% of areas associated with most deprivation, compared with pupils living in the 20% associated with least deprivation, as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).

However, this association has lessened since 2016/17 when the rate of exclusion per 1,000 pupils was more than five times higher for pupils living in the 20% of areas associated with most deprivation, compared with pupils living in the 20% associated with least deprivation. This was due to there being a greater reduction in the cases of exclusions for pupils living in the most deprived areas (7,436 in 2016/17 to 2,978 2020/21) than there was for pupils living in the least deprived areas (1,226 to 653).

Table 7.2: Case and rate of exclusion by pupil characteristic, 2020/21

Gender
Cases of exclusions(2) Rate per 1,000 pupils
Male 6,497 18.2
Female 1,826 5.3
Additional Support Needs (1)
Cases of exclusions(2) Rate per 1,000 pupils
Pupils with Additional Support needs 5,788 25.5
Pupils with no Additional support needs 2,511 5.3
SIMD (1)(2)
Cases of exclusions(2) Rate per 1,000 pupils
Lowest 20% of SIMD (Most deprived) 2,978 18.8
Highest 20% of SIMD (Least deprived) 653 4.8

(1) Cases of exclusion for pupils that were not matched to the Pupil Census have not been included. See the background notes for more information.

(2) SIMD data not available for 34 cases of exclusion, including cases for pupils not matched to the Pupil Census.

Contact

Email: school.stats@gov.scot

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