What happens to pupils permanently excluded from special schools and pupil referral units in England?

Anne Pirrie, Gale Macleod, Mairi Ann Cullen, Gillean McCluskey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is widespread consensus in the research and policy-related literature over the last decade that young people who have been permanently excluded from school are at a far greater risk of a variety of negative outcomes than young people who have not had this experience. These negative outcomes include prolonged periods out of education and/or employment; poor mental and physical health; involvement in crime; and homelessness. This article presents evidence from a small-scale qualitative study of destinations and outcomes post-exclusion for a group of young people considered to be at particular risk of such negative outcomes: namely, those who have been permanently excluded from special schools or Pupil Referral Units (now known as short-stay schools). The specific focus of this paper is on the 24 young people's educational trajectories pre- and post-exclusion; the reasons for their exclusion from school; and on what forms of alternative provision were available to them after their permanent exclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-538
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number3
Early online date15 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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