Our organisation provides support and advice for parents and carers of Black children and young people who have been excluded, or risk being excluded, from school. In order to fulfil this obligation, it is important to understand why exclusion from school is a race equality issue. In 1997 the Commission for Racial Equality issued a report which demonstrated that pupils from ethnic minorities failed to achieve their academic potential. A large part of the problem was attributed to the large number of excluded pupils. Alarmingly, the report stated that in 1995/6 10,000-14,000 students were permanently excluded from UK schools. The report also established that Black boys were four times more likely than white boys to be excluded, and for behaviour that did not result in exclusion for white boys.
More recently, the Department for Education’s (DfE) Statistical First Release on Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusion in England (2013/2014) indicates that Black boys are 3 times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than their white peers, this rises to four times for Black Caribbean children and for Black Caribbean boys with Special Educational Needs (SEN) to a shocking 168 times. The rate of progress between 1995 and 2014 has been very slow – too slow – and we are committed to changing it in the Wellingborough School’s District.
In order to tackle this high level of exclusion among minority ethnic groups there is a need to consult on the proper use of exclusion. Similarly, although there is no singular solution to this issue, it has been demonstrated by schools with low exclusion rates that a unified approach must be taken by all concerned. This means that both the pupils affected and their parents or carers have to work with the school to establish an ideology centred on high behavioural standards.