Exclusion rates for black Caribbean students remain disproportionately high, says leading academic

The TES is reporting that new research suggests black Caribbean pupils are still much more likely to be excluded than other students in mainstream English schools, despite an overall reduction in exclusion rates since the 1990s.

Professor David Gillborn and his colleagues at the Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE) at the University of Birmingham have been undertaking a two-year research project, funded by the Society for Educational Studies (SES), which examines the long-term impacts of the changes in education policy and practice since the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

In an initial analysis, published exclusively in TES this week, he and his colleagues found the following:

  • Overall, there is a significant reduction in the likelihood of permanent exclusion compared with the situation in the late 1990s.
  • Much of this can be traced to the explicit drive to reduce numbers (led by central government) between 1998 and 2001.
  • Overall, a student in 1997 was almost three times more likely to be permanently excluded than they are in 2014.

However, in terms of the unequal chances of permanent exclusion for black Caribbean children, the news is not positive:

  • Compared with their white peers, black Caribbean students’ odds of being permanently excluded have remained relatively stable (around three to four times the white rate over the 18-year period);
  • Over-representation (relative to the white rate) has not been lower than [a multiple of] three for over a decade (since 2004);
  • Over-representation (relative to the white rate) has never been less than [a multiple of] 2.9 in the 18 years that national data are available.

…Professor Gillborn says:

“I think we’re at a profoundly dangerous point in history when it comes to issues of bias, inclusion, equity and social justice,” he says…

See the full analysis in the 19 February edition of TES. 

More at: Exclusion rates for black Caribbean students remain disproportionately high, says leading academic


So we’ve had a considerable reduction in the numbers of exclusions overall, but black Caribbean students are still much more likely to experience it.

Is this likely to be a reflection of continuing racism and bias in schools?

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  1. It’s not clear whether black Caribbean students are being excluded more for the same types of behaviour, or whether these types of behaviour are more common among black Caribbean students.

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