Every day, a classroom of 35 children are told to permanently leave mainstream education, 70% more than five years ago. We worked closely with a council to better understand which children are at risk of exclusion locally, and how we could support them to avoid this.
We worked collaboratively and iteratively with schools and the local council to identify the drivers of exclusion. To do this, we conducted in-depth user research with 15 different decision-makers with the ability to improve a child’s experience in school and avoid exclusion. We used these experiences to construct a detailed longitudinal picture of children’s journeys through school drawing from 700+ datasets. This enable the council to see for the first time how different potential factors influence a child’s likelihood of becoming excluded and when and where these factors arise in a child’s life.
Our analysis identified different at-risk groups as well as when best to intervene. For example, we identified a most at-risk group where support should be targeted first: those with social care support or Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH), these are 15% of students, but 58% of multiple exclusions. We also found that clear warning signs of exclusion emerge in the years preceding a child’s permanent exclusion from school such as deteriorating attendance, fixed term exclusions building up, the child beginning to receive social work and SEN support. Based on these new insights, we’re embarking on a co-design process with the council to develop a tailored service for children at risk of exclusion.