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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Feyisa Demie

Demi, F. (2019). The Experience of Black Caribbean Pupils in School Exclusion in England. Educational Review

Author(s) from Durham


The disproportionate exclusion of Black Caribbean pupils has gained attention among policy makers and parents, but little research has been undertaken to understand the causes behind overrepresentation. Black Caribbean pupils were nearly four times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion than the school population as a whole and were twice as likely to receive a fixed-period exclusion. The aim of this research is to explore the experience of Black Caribbean pupils in school exclusion in England and to investigate the reasons for overrepresentation in exclusion statistics. Complementary case studies and focus groups were used to explore the research question. The key criteria for the selection of the schools were above national average number of Black Caribbean students and some evidence of exclusion in the schools. Schools then selected at random the respondents in this study. A number of reasons for overrepresentation of Black Caribbean pupils in exclusion statistics were suggested by the study. These included definitions as to the meaning of racism in schools, teachers’ low expectations and institutional racism, lack of diversity in the school workforce including teachers, educational psychologists and SENCos, and lack of effective training of staff on multicultural education, diversity and race issues. The research findings in this article also contain a number of important messages for policy makers and schools, including the need to recognise that the disproportionate exclusion of Black Caribbean pupils is a national concern and to develop targeted initiatives to tackle overrepresentation in England's schools.