Skip to main content

Introduction

The period covered by this release includes the early stages of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Data collected in Spring 2020 includes exclusions during the 2018/19 academic year. Due to the pandemic exclusions data for pupils educated other than at school (EOTAS) in 2018/19 was not completed and only 14 local authorities provided their data in Spring 2020.

As a result of the pandemic schools were closed between March 2020 and June 2020. This meant there were almost no exclusions during that period, which has affected the overall exclusion numbers. Further information can be found in the data tables that accompany this release

Exclusions are split by the length/type of exclusion, into 3 categories (further detail can be found in Definitions).

  1. Fixed term exclusions: 5 days or less
  2. Fixed term exclusions: over 5 days
  3. Permanent exclusions

Exclusions are recorded as part of the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) for the previous academic year. So, this year, when the PLASC was collected for the 2020/21 academic year, the exclusions data refers to the 2019/20 academic year.

Exclusions of pupils educated other than at school (EOTAS)

This release includes data about the exclusions of EOTAS. Previous versions of this release have also stated that this information is included in all tables in this release. However, due to an error, EOTAS data has not been included in a number of tables in any of the previous releases in this series. This has been corrected in this release.

Further information on this change can be found in the Quality and methodology information section or in the data tables that accompany this release.

Image
The rate of fixed-term exclusions for 5 days or less has increased from the academic year 2012/13 to its highest value in 2018/19. Between 2018/19 and 2019/20 both rates of fixed-term exclusions have fallen, this is possibly at least partly due to the closure of schools for part of the year.

Rate of fixed-term exclusions 5 days or less and over 5 days (MS Excel)

Image
The rate of permanent exclusions has broadly increased from the academic year 2012/13 to its highest value in 2018/19. Between 2018/19 and 2019/20 the rate of permanent exclusions fallen, this is possibly at least partly due to the closure of schools for part of the year.

Rate of permanent exclusions (MS Excel)

Main points: maintained schools

  • The rate of permanent exclusions has remained the same (0.5 per 1,000 pupils) in 2019/20, compared to 0.5 per 1,000 pupils in 2018/19.
  • The rate of fixed term exclusions (over 5 days) has decreased in 2019/20 (1.2 exclusions per 1,000 pupils).
  • The rate of fixed term exclusions (5 days or less) has decreased in 2019/20 to 27.2 per 1,000 pupils.

Types of school 2019/20

Special schools had the highest rate of fixed-term exclusions of 5 days or less, and the highest rate of fixed-term exclusions over 5 days, whereas primary schools had the lowest. This is the same as in previous years.

Secondary schools had the highest rate of permanent exclusions.

Free school meal (FSM) eligibility

The rate of exclusions is consistently (at least 3 times) higher for those entitled to FSM than not entitled to FSM for fixed term exclusions (5 days or less), fixed term exclusions (over 5 days) and permanent exclusions in the period 2012/13 to 2019/20.

Special educational needs (SEN) provision

The highest rates of exclusions for SEN Pupils have consistently been among students receiving School Action Plus provision. This is true across all categories of exclusion.

Ethnic background

We do not have data for the ethnic background of all pupils. Some pupils prefer not to provide the information, and for some the information wasn’t obtained. For pupils that we do have information for:

  • pupils with a “Gypsy” ethnic background have the highest rate of fixed term exclusions (5 days or less)
  • pupils with an Indian ethnic background have the lowest rate of fixed term exclusions (5 days or less)
  • pupils with a White ethnic background have the highest rate of fixed term exclusions (over 5 days)
  • pupils with an Asian ethnic background have the lowest rate of fixed term exclusions (over 5 days)
  • pupils with a White ethnic background have the highest rate of permanent exclusions
  • pupils with a Black ethnic background have the lowest rate of permanent exclusions
Image
Over all exclusions, Pupils with Statements of SEN or an SEN Provision had the highest rate of exclusions, followed by Pupils Eligible for Free School Meals. Both groups had a higher rate of exclusions than the rate for all pupils.

Rate of all exclusions by pupil characteristics (MS Excel)

Reasons for exclusions

Image
The most common reason for any exclusion is persistent disruptive behaviour, at 25.7% of all exclusions. The next most common reason is verbal abuse/threatening behaviour at 19.6% of all exclusions.

Percentage of all exclusion lengths by exclusion reason (MS Excel)

The most common reason given for all exclusions in 2019/20 was ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’ at just over a quarter of all exclusions.

Looking at specific lengths of exclusions:

  • ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’ was the most common reason given for fixed-term exclusions (5 days or less) at 26.4% of those exclusions
  • ‘physical assault against a pupil’ was the most common reason for fixed term exclusions of 5 days or more accounting for 19.6% of those exclusions
  • the most common reasons for permanent exclusions were ‘physical assault against a pupil’ at 20.1% of those exclusions

Definitions

Permanent exclusion

Refers to a pupil who is excluded and their name removed from the school register. This pupil would then be educated at another school or via some other form of provision.

Fixed-term exclusion

Refers to a pupil who is excluded from a school but remains on the register of that school because they are expected to return when the exclusion period is completed.

Managed move

An arrangement whereby parents of pupils in danger of exclusion agree with schools and local authorities that it is in the best interests of their child that they be removed from the roll of the current school and placed in another educational establishment. Data for managed moves are not currently available.

Quality and methodology information

There have been 2 changes to this series in this release.

The inclusion of EOTAS exclusions data in the tables referencing FSM, SEN, and ethnicity data. Previous editions of this release incorrectly stated that this data was included. This change applied to all years in those tables (tables 4, 5, and 6).

A change in the total pupil numbers because of a change in the EOTAS pupils included. Previously only pupils registered either just in a Pupil Referral Unit, or registered in a Pupil Referral Unit with Subsidiary enrolment in a maintained school. Now all pupils in EOTAS are included in the pupil total provided they are not in the PLASC count. This change affects every year in all the tables except the table of exclusion reasons (table 3).

Further quality information can be found the Quality report for this release.

National Statistics status

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.

All official statistics should comply with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics. They are awarded National Statistics status following an assessment by the UK Statistics Authority’s regulatory arm. The Authority considers whether the statistics meet the highest standards of Code compliance, including the value they add to public decisions ad debate. The designation of these statistics as National Statistics was confirmed in July 2010 following a full assessment against the Code of Practice.

Since the latest review by the Office for Statistics Regulation, we have continued to comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics, and have made the following improvements:

  • added to and refined information about dimensions of quality and described links to policy
  • produced the latest release in a new format to include charts which provide further insight into some of the key information
  • made more data available on StatsWales

It is Welsh Government’s responsibility to maintain compliance with the standards expected of National Statistics. If we become concerned about whether these statistics are still meeting the appropriate standards, we will discuss any concerns with the Authority promptly. National Statistics status can be removed at any point when the highest standards are not maintained, and reinstated when standards are restored.

This section provides a summary of information on this output against five dimensions of quality: Relevance, Accuracy, Timeliness and Punctuality, Accessibility and Clarity, and Comparability. It also covers specific issues relating to quality of 2021 data, and describes the quality management tool applied to this area of work.

Relevance

These statistics are used both within and outside the Welsh Government. Some of the key users are:

  • ministers and the Senedd Research in the Senedd
  • members of the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament
  • education policy in the Welsh Government
  • other areas of the Welsh Government
  • Estyn
  • the research community
  • students, academics and universities
  • individual citizens and private companies

These statistics are used in a variety of ways. Some examples of these are:

  • resource allocation in the Welsh Local Government Finance Settlement and the Pupil Development Grant
  • advice to ministers
  • to inform the education policy decision-making process in Wales including school reorganisation
  • to inform Estyn during school inspections
  • the education domain of the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation
  • to assist in research in educational attainment

Accessibility and clarity

This Statistical First Release is pre-announced and then published on the Statistics section of the Welsh Government website. It is accompanied by an Open Document Spreadsheet and more detailed tables on StatsWales, a free to use service that allows visitors to view, manipulate, create and download data.

Comparability

England: School attendance and Absence (GOV.UK)

Scotland: School exclusion statistics (Scottish Government)

Northern Ireland: Pupil suspensions and expulsions (Department for Education, Northern Ireland)

Well-being of Future Generations Act (WFG)

The Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales. The Act puts in place seven wellbeing goals for Wales. These are for a more equal, prosperous, resilient, healthier and globally responsible Wales, with cohesive communities and a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. Under section (10)(1) of the Act, the Welsh Ministers must (a) publish indicators ('national indicators') that must be applied for the purpose of measuring progress towards the achievement of the wellbeing goals, and (b) lay a copy of the national indicators before Senedd Cymru. The 46 national indicators were laid in March.

Information on the indicators, along with narratives for each of the wellbeing goals and associated technical information is available in the Well-being of Wales report.

Further information on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The statistics included in this release could also provide supporting narrative to the national indicators and be used by public services boards in relation to their local wellbeing assessments and local wellbeing plans.

Contact details

Statistician: Stephen Hughes
Tel: 0300 025 5060
Email: school.stats@gov.wales

Media: 0300 025 8099

 National statistics

SFR 374/2021