As new research shows, school exclusions result in huge personal and societal costs. What can be done?by Danny Swift / October 19, 2017 / Leave a comment
Permanent exclusion from school usually marks the end of a long struggle to keep a child in mainstream education. Unfortunately, it often also marks the beginning of a life of unemployment, poor health and crime. In addition to the inestimable/immeasurable costs suffered by the child, IPPR’s recent comprehensive study into school exclusions estimates that each cohort of excluded pupils goes on to cost the public purse an additional £2.1 billion, in benefits, healthcare and criminal justice costs.
Researchers at IPPR used government statistics and analysed data from various public services, to map outcomes for excluded children. We found that educational outcomes are particularly poor, with only 1 per cent of excluded children achieving the five good GCSEs needed to enter many professions.
Unsurprisingly, the impact on employment prospects is significant and immediate. An excluded child is nine times more likely than their non-excluded peers to be NEET (not in sustained employment, education or training) six months after their GCSEs. A 2014 Department for Education report found a marginal return of £150,000 over a life-time, just for getting two good GCSEs compared to getting none at all. Most excluded children don’t even sit two GCSEs.
The story quickly becomes one of huge personal cost. Sustained spells of unemployment at an early age are closely linked to serious mental ill health, long-term unemployment and criminal activity. Less than 1 in 200 children is permanently excluded from school, but in the prison population almost one in two were excluded as children. IPPR did not include in their analysis the collateral costs, both personal and financial: crimes tend to have victims—health and employment costs; unemployed parents raise children in poverty—likely on benefits; imprisoned parents leave children in care—paid for by the state.
“Less than 1 in 200 children is permanently excluded from school, but in the prison population almost one in two were excluded as children”
IPPR’s calculation is therefore a conservative one, reflecting the costs of: educating a child out of the mainstream system; lost taxation from lower future earnings; associated benefits payments (excluding housing); higher likelihood of entry into the criminal justice system; higher likelihood of social security involvement; and increased average healthcare costs. It estimates that each excluded child will cost an average of an additional £370,000 over their lifetime. Using the official figure of 6,685 children permanently…