Statistics Publication Notice
EXCLUSIONS FROM SCHOOLS, 2003/04
22 February 2005
A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication
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This document contains the results of the new exclusions survey. This provides greater detail than the previous survey and enables analysis of characteristics of excluded pupils. Some of the information contained in this document is therefore not available for previous years. Information relates to local authority and mainstream grant aided schools only. Exclusions include both temporary exclusions and pupils removed from the register.
Most of the data refers to cases of exclusion, which must not be confused with the number of pupils excluded, as some pupils were excluded more than once during the year.
During 2003/04, the target to reduce the number of exclusions from schools was discontinued.
The main findings are:
- During 2003/04 there were 38,919 exclusions from local authority schools in Scotland, an increase of seven per cent from 2002/03. About 21,000 different pupils (three per cent) were excluded.
- Over 99 per cent of all exclusions were temporary. In 176 cases, pupils were removed from the register of the school, a decrease of 40 per cent from the 2002/03 figure of 292.
- Overall, male pupils accounted for 79 per cent of exclusions.
- There were 4,478 exclusions from publicly funded primary schools, twelve per cent of the total, and equivalent to eleven exclusions per 1,000 pupils. Exclusions in primary school had previously decreased from 4,495 in 1999/2000 to 4,131 in 2002/03.
- There were 33,472 exclusions from publicly funded secondary schools, 86 per cent of the total, and equivalent to 105 exclusions per 1,000 pupils. Exclusion rates peaked during S3, with 185 exclusions per 1,000 pupils. Exclusions in local authority secondary schools had previously decreased from 33,197 in 1999/2000 to 31,055 in 2002/03.
- There were 976 exclusions from local authority special schools, three per cent of the total, and equivalent to 134 exclusions per 1,000 pupils. Exclusions in special schools have generally increased since 1999/2000.
- Exclusion rates were highest during the Christmas to Easter term. This may reflect normal patterns of exclusion, but may also be affected by the dropping of targets to reduce exclusions, which was announced in November.
- Eighty per cent of all temporary exclusions lasted one week or less.
- Of the 21,000 pupils excluded, 61 per cent were excluded on one occasion only and 19 per cent were excluded twice.
- Comparison with the overall school population shows that pupils entitled to free school meals, pupils with a Record of Needs, or pupils looked after by the local authority, all had higher exclusion rates than other pupils.
- A quarter of exclusions were due to general or persistent disobedience; 22 per cent involved verbal abuse of members of staff; and 14 per cent involved physical abuse of fellow pupils.
- Overall, there were 53 exclusions per 1,000 pupils from local authority primary, secondary, and special schools in Scotland in 2003/04. This ranged between local authorities from 6 per 1,000 to 97 per 1,000.
Table 1 - Exclusions by type of exclusion, 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 2 - Exclusions, by stage and gender
Table 3 - Exclusions per 1,000 pupils, by stage and gender
Chart 1 - Exclusion rates, by stage and gender
Table 4 - Exclusions by stage, 1998/99 to 2003/04
Chart 2 - Number of exclusions per week
Table 5 - Duration of temporary exclusions
Table 6 - Number of times that pupils were temporarily excluded
Table 7 - Number of days lost due to exclusions, with no education provision
Table 8 - Education provision during exclusion
Table 9 - Exclusions, by ethnic background of pupils
Table 10 - Exclusions amongst pupils registered for free school meals
Table 11 - Exclusions amongst pupils looked after by local authorities
Table 12 - Exclusions amongst pupils with a Record of Needs or Individualised Educational Programme
Table 13 - Appeals against exclusions
Table 14 - Exclusions by type and reason for exclusion
Table 15 - Exclusion by reason for exclusion 1999/00 to 2003/04
Table 16 - Exclusions by type of exclusion and local authority
Table 17 - Exclusions by school sector and local authority
Table 18 - Temporary exclusions and number of different pupils temporarily excluded by local authority
Table 19 - Temporary exclusions by local authority 1999/00 to 2003/04
Table 20 - Total removed from register by local authority 1999/00 to 2003/04
Table 21 - Total exclusions by local authority 1999/00 to 2003/04
Table 22 - Absence due to temporary exclusion
Under Circulars 10/93 and 1/95, local authorities are required each year to collect certain statistics from schools on exclusions. The statistics relate to half-days of temporary exclusions and number of pupils removed from the register (previously known as 'permanent' exclusions).
An exclusion is temporary when a pupil 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. The term 'removed from the register' refers to a pupil who is excluded and their name removed from the school register. Such a pupil would then be educated at another school or via some other form of provision. The process of being removed and subsequently receiving education elsewhere can either take place with or without a break in school attendance. Local authorities have different procedures for use of temporary exclusions and removal from the register with and without a break in attendance.
In April 1998, the then Scottish Office issued Circular 2/98 to local authorities, informing them of a formal requirement to report, record and monitor additional information on exclusions from schools starting from the 1998/99 school year. Following the issue of Circular 2/98, the Scottish Executive collected and collated this additional information from local authorities for the first time in September 1999.
Since 2003/04 an agreed set of information on each exclusion has been sent to the Scottish Executive as part of the ScotXed programme of data exchange.
Following an answer to a Parliamentary Question in June 2003, the Executive issued Circular 8/03 in November 2003, which gave revised guidance and formally informed local authorities that the target to reduce exclusions had been dropped. Exclusions in this publication cover the year during which this change was made.
Issues relating to data
This survey covers local authority primary, secondary and special schools, and one mainstream grant aided school.
Data for 2003/04 was for the first time collected at individual level, enabling greater analysis. This also enabled linkage to the September 2003 pupil census information. However in 1,883 exclusions linkage to the census dataset was not possible, due mainly to a change of pupil identifier. This has been shown in all relevant tables as "data not available".
Data from some schools was sent with incorrect information about the pupils' stage. The stage used in this analysis was therefore taken from linking the dataset back to the September 2003 census. Where no link was available, the stage was taken from the exclusions data.
While information is received at pupil level, there is currently no unique pupil identifier for tracking pupils who move school to another authority. This means that in analysis where the distinction between different pupils is important (e.g. the number of individual pupils excluded) some pupils with two or more exclusions may have been counted as separate pupils with one exclusion each.
For 2003/04 information was not collected for the length of the exclusion. This information was calculated using the exclusion start and finish dates, taking out weekends and holidays, although this method contained some inacuracy. For 2004/05 onwards length of exclusion is also being collected.
It was found that information on temporary exclusions was not consistent with information on absence due to temporary exclusion received in the attendance survey. It is envisaged that validation checks will be built into information systems to ensure that consistent data is recorded.
Where a figure is zero, or rounds to zero, the symbol - is used.
The team responsible for this document were: Mal Cooke, Marc Goodfellow, Debbie Hall, Colin Gallacher.
This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference
All tables are available on the Scottish Executive website at
16. Public enquiries (non-media) about the information contained in this notice should be addressed to
Pupil, Teacher and School Statistics
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ.
Telephone 0131 244 1689
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
17. Media enquiries about the information in this notice should be addressed to:
John Booth : 0131 244 4001
Statistics Publication Notice
22 February 2005