Prison link prompts call to ban school exclusions in Scotland

Date: 1st May 2014
Category: Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities

There have been calls for an end to exclusions in Scottish schools in light of new evidence suggesting that banning pupils from class increases the risk of them leaving school early and going on to serve time in prison when they are older.

Tam Baillie, the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland, has backed demands to abolish exclusions after new analysis showed a significant link between exclusions and vulnerable pupils leaving school early and falling into crime.

Enable is currently looking into the exlcusion of pupils with learning disabilities as a matter of priority, with a view to a possible campaign in the future. Voluntary organisations fear the figures are rising - despite a dramatic fall in overall exclusions - because teaching staff cannot cope with more complex needs.

As highlighted in Together's 2013 'State of Children's Rights' report, children with additional support needs are 4 times more likely to face exclusion from school. The report also reflects on the right of all children to an education.

Speaking to TES Scotland at a conference in Edinburgh on young offenders, Mr Baillie said: "Every child has the right to an education. I would like to see a Scotland without any exclusions if we have enough other support in place."

The findings were from an ongoing long-term study tracking more than 4,000 young people who started high school in Edinburgh in 1998. Results last year revealed that students who had been excluded from school by the age of 12 were four times more likely to have been imprisoned by the time they were 24.

Reasons for exclusions range from general disobedience to being physically abusive or taking drugs. The vast majority of excluded pupils are barred for less than a week. The Scottish government said its policy of reducing exclusions was working and it had "no intention" of banning the sanction.