Illegal school exclusion in English education policy

Megan Whitehouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This article draws upon legislation, policy, guidance and recently published research in order to explore why illegal exclusion, sometimes known as off rolling, is an under-researched area of education, and what the most significant barriers are to gaining a clearer understanding of the scale of, and reasons behind, the practice. In doing so, the article draws attention to policy obfuscation, inconsistent definitions and a desire to ‘name and shame’ offending schools. Furthermore, the contention is that school exclusion policy and safeguarding policy are not aligned, which means that many children, particularly those who are statistically more vulnerable to exclusion are denied their right to both education and to be kept safe from harm. I conclude by arguing that a shift in priorities, away from punishment and towards upholding safeguarding legislation, is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-230
JournalEmotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2023


  • Off rolling
  • exclusion
  • policy
  • safeguarding


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