This online lunchtime seminar will be presented by Jemma Bridgeman (Cardiff University), Alice Tawell (University of Oxford), Annie Taylor (University of Edinburgh) and Gavin Duffy (Queens University Belfast):

This presentation will explore the findings of the Excluded Lives project—a comparative research project undertaken by the Universities of Cardiff, Edinburgh, Oxford, and Queen’s Belfast. The project’s objective was to understand the disparities in rates of school exclusion across the four jurisdictions of the UK: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

While rates of formal exclusion (permanent and temporary) vary widely, our research suggests that informal exclusionary practices feature in each of the four education systems, including for example managed moves, isolation, reduced or part-time timetables, internal exclusion and being sent home without a formal exclusion. While other studies have highlighted the use of informal exclusion, particularly in England, there is scant research on the consequences of informal exclusion in the UK. Drawing on data from interviews with parents, pupils and professionals from core schools who took part in the Excluded Lives project, in this paper we will outline the rationale behind the use of informal exclusionary practices and the impact of their use.

We will explore how school practitioners framed the use of informal practices, for example as preventative measures used to reduce the likelihood of formal exclusion by providing ‘cooling off’ periods or time to ‘reset’. We will also explore some of the impacts of informal practices as discussed by young people and their families, including the impact of isolation on young people’s wellbeing, missing out on school work through internal exclusion, the emotional and financial implications of repeatedly being sent home for parents/carers, support not being put in place to meet a child’s needs and the lack of legal protection for the child due to having the right to appeal removed. We will conclude by focusing on the implications of our findings and provide suggestions for future research to further explore the extent and impact of the use of informal exclusions both across the UK and further afield.

If you have any queries please email: or telephone: 029 2087 5260.