Every day, thousands of children are out of school due to suspensions – and most of them are students living in poverty.
Department for Education data shows that in 2021/22, the equivalent of more than 3,000 children lost their ability to learn every day due to school expulsion.
According to a joint report by charity Impetus, think tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and school leaders’ charity The Difference, 2,300 children suffered learning loss every day in 2018/19.
The Covid-19 pandemic may be over, but the pandemic of lost learning in England is growing.
And as suspensions have increased, a rise in permanent expulsions is likely to follow, says the report from the new Who’s Losing Learning? Coalition says.
Suspensions are a target for schools when difficult behaviors surface and begin to escalate.
They represent a way to investigate the cause and reduce the likelihood of further risk and harm, the coalition adds.
More than half of all suspensions involved children living in poverty, who are 3.7 times more likely to be sent home than other children, the report said.
Compared to pre-pandemic suspensions, the number of children in poverty losing their education in this way has increased by 75%, while the increase in children not living in poverty was only 4%.
Additionally, children with social workers are four times more likely to lose their ability to learn because they are sent home from school.
Children with special needs are also more likely to lose their ability to learn – children with higher recognized needs and education and health insurance plans are 3.7 times more likely.
While white British children still make up the majority of students suspended (73% or three in four), certain ethnicities remain more likely to be excluded.
Black Caribbean children are 1.5 times more likely to lose their ability to learn through suspension than their white British peers, and dual-descent white and black Caribbean children are 1.5 times more likely to lose their ability to learn. 7 times higher.
The comparatively smaller groups of Irish Travelers and Roma Gypsies remain the most excluded: 2.4 times and 3.2 times more likely, respectively, than white British children.
These demographic patterns are also replicated in other forms of learning loss, such as out-of-school children, unexplained school leaving, and persistently excluded children.
Who loses out on learning? The coalition is calling for a clearer understanding of the patterns in this learning loss so that policy can support schools to address the root causes.
Research from before the pandemic found a pattern of repeated suspensions as a warning sign of a path to permanent exclusion, in which children are ordered to leave school permanently, the report continued.
Less than 5% of these young people get the GCSEs they need in English and maths, and they cost the state £370,000 each in additional health, education, social care and criminal justice costs.
As suspensions have increased, permanent exclusions are expected to rise, the coalition says, which could increase the total cost of this cohort to the state by £2.4 billion next year.
We should all be concerned about the social injustice that the most marginalized children – who already face the greatest barriers to opportunities outside of school – are the most likely to lose learning through absence, suspension and exclusion.
Suspensions have not increased uniformly everywhere. Suspension rates are highest in the East Midlands (57% increase), followed by the North West and North East (both 34% increase – just above the national average). The suspension rate has increased the least in central London (increase of 7%).
Kiran Gill, CEO of The Difference and advisor to The Timpson Review of School Exclusions, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic may be over, but the pandemic of lost learning in England is growing.”
“We should all be concerned about the social injustice that the most marginalized children – who already face the greatest barriers to opportunities outside of school – are the ones most likely to be hindered by absence, suspension and exclusion in their ability to learn lose.
“The Difference is privileged to work with school leaders across the country who are rising to this challenge – educating themselves and their staff to better identify and respond to the children who are increasingly at risk.
“This is the new frontier in pedagogy: It is clear that parents and society need teachers who will raise standards not only in their subject, but also in the practices that make our children safer and mentally stronger and prevent them fall away from learning.”
“We need tools and guidelines to help school leaders take the same rigorous approach to understanding and raising standards in this school sector as they have successfully done to teaching and learning over the last decade.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/department-for-education-institute-for-public-policy-research-learning-coalition-british-b1106633.html Every day thousands of children lose their ability to learn due to lockdowns