Primary school exclusions link to secondary absence and GCSE attainment

More than 90% of children who are excluded at primary school and 77% of those who are suspended do not go on to get a Grade 4 or higher in their GCSE English and maths exams.
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Analysis from FFT Education Datalab, published by charity Chance UK (Benyon, 2024), shows correlation between exclusion or suspension at primary school and attendance and academic outcomes in secondary school.

It finds that by year 10, of those students who had been excluded at primary schools 64% were persistently absent (missing 10% of their school sessions).

Furthermore, the study reveals that a staggering 97% of pupils excluded during their primary education had SEND. Most of those excluded children had social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH) as well.

The study tracked five year groups from reception class to GCSE exams (around 3.2 million students) and finds that as well as SEND, exclusion and suspension also disproportionately affected children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with English as an additional language.

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