Revealed: Academies Exclude 82% More Students

Marie Faulkner's picture
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The Local Schools Network has, under the Freedom of Information Act, obtained exclusion figures for each academy in the UK. To see the full list, based on figures for 2008/09, download them here. Comparing these to overall exclusion figures for England (available from the DfE here), reveals far higher figures for academies.

On average non-academy state secondary schools permanently exclude 1.7 students out of every 1,000 each year. However academies exclude 3.1 out of every 1,000 – representing 82% more students. Some exclude far more. New Line Learning Academy in Kent permanently excluded 25 students in 2008/09. Other academies with high levels of permanent exclusion included Grace Academy in Solihull with 14, Harris Academy in Croydon with 15 and St Matthew Academy in Lewisham with 13.

Some might argue that the higher rates are because academies were set up by labour in tougher, more deprived areas. And the overall DfE statistics do reveal that schools in more deprived areas do exclude more students. But the 10% most deprived only exclude 23% more than the average – far below the 82% higher figure for academies.

A similar pattern is clear for fixed term exclusions. The number of fixed term exclusions in academies is equivalent to 14.2% of students, compared to 9.23% in non-academy state secondaries. This is 53% more. Again some academies show very high figures:  New Line Academy again tops the league, with a figure equivalent to 68% of students, but it is closely followed by Academy 360 in Sunderland on 65% and Merchants Academy in Bristol on 61%.

It is unclear why exclusion rates are so high but it is likely to be because, outside of local authority regulation, it is simply easier to get rid of troublesome students. In non-academy secondaries 25% of appeals against exclusions were upheld. No equivalent figures are available for academies but it seems likely that there is far less protection against exclusion decisions.

The government, of course, has made clear that it wants to make it easier to exclude students, but it has not revealed how it will help and support the students that are thus cast out. Some of the most successful comprehensive schools in the country manage to permanently exclude no students at all and, in the year for which these figures are taken, that even included Gove’s favourite academy – Mossbourne. Permanent exclusion should not be seen as a mark of success of school discipline but of a failure to meet a student’s needs and has no apparent correlation to school success.
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Comments

janee's picture
Wed, 09/02/2011 - 12:49

And yet, despite the extra funding and covert selection (either by the use of "fair" banding or by exclusion), they are still not managing to produce the results. The press have given headlines to the successes but have ignored those academies which have lower exam results or have been "failed" by Ofsted.

Melissa Benn's picture
Wed, 09/02/2011 - 13:05

This is very interesting and confirms anecdotal evidence from community school heads in extremely tough areas when asked why they don't quite match up to the academy record, on behaviour or even results.These community school heads may not approve of the policy or even envy greater academy freedoms on exclusions but they KNOW from first hand experience what these figures reveal, that academies have privileged ways of getting rid of the most difficult kids that can so disrupt the school and others' education.

janee's picture
Wed, 09/02/2011 - 15:40

I wonder if, now that academies are covered by the Freedom of Information Act, they will be exposed. Is anyone using it it yet. If so, what for and what has been the response?

Ros Coffey's picture
Thu, 10/02/2011 - 10:56

Can I enter a caveat here - Just remember that these academies will be the ones which were set up to bring our lowest achieving schools in line - look at the time which this covers, so it is not surprising that exclusions might be higher.

This would have been when most of these academies were starting up and if they had major behaviour problems to resolve then you might expect there to be a surge in Permanent Exclusions. The key is what will the 2009 figures be like. If they show a considerable reduction then the reason is valid if not then they are simply getting rid of undesirable pupils.

Feargal Hogan's picture
Thu, 10/02/2011 - 12:31

I'd agree with Ros, although I wouldn't expect the differences to be less visible in 2009. ~When we see the current crop of outstanding schools->academy conversions appearing in the academy columns. then the comparison might be valid.

Alex Massey's picture
Thu, 10/02/2011 - 13:36

Why does the permanent exclusions table miss out 40 or so schools which are included in the fixed term exclusions table? Should we assume the missing schools had zero permanent exclusions?

Rob Morgan's picture
Sat, 12/02/2011 - 17:55

In Tamworth, the Landau Forte Academy opened it's doors in September 2010 (replacing Woodhouse School - which it had been working with for a year or two beforehand).

On it's first day of opening, it sent home 20 pupils for issues relating to attendance. See here.

It has since been in the news locally for issuing fine of £10 to parents of pupils who are caught smoking on or near the school premises. In order to back up claims, it has been using school CCTV footage. (See ">here )

This is a good example of an academy doing it's best to rid itself of "troublesome students".

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