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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Theresa May's burning injustices: if you're black, today's figures show you're four times more likely to be excluded — IPPR comment

  • Today's DfE figures show 35 children a day excluded from schools, IPPR says.
  • Children with social emotional and mental health needs are 10 times more likely to be excluded than other pupils.
  • The majority of these are pupils just about to sit their GCSEs. 80% are from secondary schools and more than half are in Year 9 or above.  At this age, it is very unlikely students will be reintegrated into another mainstream school.  If they sit their GCSEs in schools for excluded pupils, only 1% will go on to get the 5 good GCSEs they need to access the workplace.

Commenting on today's figures from the Department for Education on school exclusions, Kiran Gill, IPPR associate fellow and founder of The Difference, a new project to tackle the injustices facing excluded pupils, said:

"Theresa May has vowed to tackle Britain’s burning injustices.  Today’s government statistics on exclusions show how these injustices are playing out in Britain’s schools. 

"If you are a child with a mental health need, IPPR’s analysis of today’s statistics shows you are 10 times more likely to be permanently excluded from school.

"The Prime Minister’s injustices included the fact that if you are black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system.  Our analysis of today’s exclusion data reveals similar patterns in the school system.  If you’re black you’re nearly four times more likely to be permanently excluded.  IPPR estimates that of the nearly 86,000 people in UK prisons, 54,000 were excluded when at school.

"In the first year of Theresa May’s time in office, 35 children – more than an entire class of students – were permanently excluded from school each day.  The majority were excluded just before their GCSEs, and stand a 1 in 100 chance of gaining the qualifications required by most employers.

"To stand true to her speech outside Number 10 a year ago, Theresa May must take action to address this burning injustice."



Ash Singleton, [email protected], 07887 422 789.
Kiran Gill, [email protected], 07525 622 651.


IPPR’s full report on exclusions will be published in September, and argues for Government investment in a new school leadership route, developing specialism in mental health and reducing exclusion.  The new programme, The Difference, has already won backing from educational charity Teach First, and has set out its mission is to break the link between school exclusion and social exclusion.