Rees Centre Annual Lecture 2019: School Exclusions

7th November 2019 : 17:00 - 19:30

Category: Lecture

Research Group: Rees Centre

Speaker: Alison Woodhead, Lisa Cherry, Harry Daniels

Location: Rewley House Oxford OX1 2JA

School exclusions are on the rise and we are delighted to have a group of eminent speakers who will address the issues around exclusion for looked after and adopted children and consider how exclusions might be prevented.


Please note unfortunately Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector will NOT be speaking due to purdah rules prior to the forthcoming general election

Confirmed – Harry Daniels, Professor of Education, University of Oxford

Abstract: This brief talk will provide a background to central aspects of exclusion from school and an overview of a new four year project led by Professor Harry Daniels and Associate Professor Ian Thompson at the University of Oxford’s Department of Education. A team of researchers operating across Oxford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Reading and the London School of Economics (LSE) will further research into the impact of UK school exclusion after the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) awarded a grant of £2,550,850 to develop a multi-disciplinary understanding of the political economies and consequences of school exclusion across the UK. The research will lead to a greater understanding of the cost of exclusions at individual, institutional and system levels, as well as pupils’ rights, entitlements, protection and wellbeing, and the landscapes of exclusion across the UK’s four jurisdictions.

Confirmed – Alison Woodhead, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Adoption UK

Abstract: Not all children have an equal start in life. But all children deserve an equal chance at school. For tens of thousands of adopted children in the UK, the reality of school is a daily struggle for survival. Many are failing academically as a result, and levels of exclusion are high. Through detailed surveys of families and teachers, interviews with schools and discussions with education experts, Adoption UK has identified significant gaps in understanding, empathy and resources that are preventing adopted children from having an equal chance to succeed at school.

Confirmed – Lisa Cherry, Author and Trainer

Abstract:One area that has received a lot of attention and focus in regard to looked after children has been education. Statistics have shown consistently that children living away from home under perform at every key stage within education. Looked after children are five times more likely to face a fixed term exclusion and twice as likely to experience a permanent exclusion (Department for Education, 2017). This study focuses on what impact there has been on education and employment on care experienced adults who left care in the 1970’s and 1980’s and were excluded from school.

The findings offer a narrative on education across the life course of those who have been looked after away from home and excluded from school that suggests a strong desire to engage with education into adulthood. Relationships and their impact upon the individual, negatively and positively, raise questions about impact on the participants but also the perceived understanding of impact that teachers and social workers have of their input. In conclusion, the data collected provides answers about impact and the journey that had been undertaken to recover a lost education. These findings are important as they inform further research. They offer a different narrative about what happens to people across the life course and enable some insights for educators about their opportunity for positive impact and the results that this can bring, that ultimately stay with a person throughout their life.

The evening will be chaired by the Rees Centre Director and Associate Professor, Dr Lisa Holmes.

Following the presentations, there will be a Q & A session with the audience. Please join us afterwards for a drinks reception to celebrate our inaugural annual lecture.



The Rees Centre is located within the Department of Education at the University of Oxford. Established in 2012, the Centre produces research evidence to inform policy and practice in the areas of children’s social care and education. We aim to improve the life chances and particularly the educational outcomes of those who are, or have been supported by children’s social care services, with a focus on children in need (including those in care), adoptive and special guardianship families and care experienced adults. The primary audiences for the Centre’s work are children’s social care practitioners and managers, foster carers, adopters, guardians, schools, virtual schools, health, the judiciary, therapeutic services, policymakers and other researchers. We often work in partnership with others and have well-established relationships across the sector with both statutory and third sector organisations as well as the care-experienced community.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.