AN Oxford secondary priding itself on its pupils’ “impeccable behaviour” has been revealed as having the county’s highest exclusion rate – with 11 per cent of children being suspended last year.

The Swan School, in Marston Ferry Road, carried out 56 temporary exclusions – a rate of 23.7 per 100 pupils, though some of those were multiple exclusions relating to a small number of children. Of its 236 pupils, 26 were excluded. There were no permanent exclusions.

The school topped a list of 246 Oxfordshire schools with more than 100 pupils.

At the other end of the scale, 82 schools in the area did not exclude a single pupil.

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Department for Education figures show there were a total of 4,301 permanent or temporary exclusions across the 297 state schools in Oxfordshire in the 2020-21 academic year.

This works out at a rate of 4.4 exclusions for every 100 pupils – similar to the average of 4.3 across England.

The numbers come as the Children’s Society calls for stronger Government guidance on the issue, after data revealed the “huge differences” in the rate of exclusions in schools across England.

The Swan School is Oxford’s newest secondary school, opening its doors on site in September 2020.

The school is part of the River Learning Trust, which also oversees Rose Hill Primary School in Oxford, which ranked fourth on the list.

The trust’s chief executive Paul James said: “Due to their size, the exclusion figures for primary schools can be skewed by particular, complex situations — and this is what has happened at Rose Hill.

“The 2020-21 data is very unusual and in the last academic year, 2021-22, the exclusion rate at Rose Hill was reduced significantly to two. We envisage very low levels of exclusions at Rose Hill moving forward.

“The Swan School’s figures are indicative of a new school creating very high aspirations for its students and a determination to create a safe, calm and supportive environment in which young people can achieve great things. This has been achieved at The Swan, where behaviour is impeccable.

“However, we do want exclusions to come down. As a small and growing school, The Swan’s capacity for providing the staffing that allows students to remain in school as an alternative to exclusion is increasing year on year, and we anticipate that exclusion figures for future years will be consistently lower.”

Around 37 per cent of schools across England did not suspend or permanently exclude any pupils in 2020-21, while almost a dozen issued more exclusions than they have pupils.

The schools with the highest exclusion rates in Oxfordshire in 2020-21 were:

  1. The Swan School – state-funded secondary – 23.7 exclusions per 100 pupils
  2. Aureus School – state-funded secondary – 23.2
  3. Wykham Park – state-funded secondary – 22.4
  4. Rose Hill Primary School – state-funded primary – 19.7
  5. King Alfred's – state-funded secondary – 18.2


The Department for Education said it supports headteachers to choose how and when to use suspensions to maintain a calm, safe, and supportive environment.

A spokeswoman added: “We are clear that permanent exclusion should only be used when absolutely necessary, as a last resort and this should not mean exclusion from education.

“Our updated statutory guidance, coming into force this academic year, sets out how and when to use suspensions in particular circumstances as a behaviour tool, and supports decisions to exclude when required.”


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing:

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