Skip to main content
stylised image of a pair of glasses sitting on top of a folded newspaper

Exclusions for pupils with SEND four time higher show new government figures


The Government has released the statistics on suspensions and exclusions for the Autumn term 2021-22. The figures show an increase in all areas with exclusions up by 400 and suspensions up by nearly 24,000 on the previous autumn term. Delving deeper into the data the figures show that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) had suspension rates of over 600 per 10,000 pupils, compared to 144 for pupils with no SEND. Pupils with SEND but without EHCPs also had the highest permanent exclusion rate of eight per 10,000 pupils.

Other marginalised groups were similarly featured highly in the data in comparison to their number. Pupils eligible for free school meals were almost four times more likely to be suspended, and around seven times more likely to be excluded than their peers not on FSM. Gypsy and Roma pupils had the highest exclusion and suspension rates – 12 and 917 per 10,000 pupils – of any ethnic group, with those of Irish Traveller heritage the second highest.

The most common reason for permanent exclusions remains the same as in previous years, persistent disruptive behaviour (31 per cent), followed by physical assault against a pupil (16 per cent) and verbal abuse or threatening behaviour against an adult (13 per cent). Persistent disruptive behaviour was included as a reason in 41% of all suspensions and 31% of all permanent exclusions in autumn term 2021/22.

While the figures present a challenging picture it must be remembered that many schools are doing excellent work to combat these exclusions and support those vulnerable learners and marginalised groups to succeed within our education system. Maybe now is a good time to reflect on how inclusive your school is for these groups and what more can be done to ensure their life chances are improved.