How effective are school interventions in reducing exclusions?

Schools use many procedures to tackle behavioural issues, including disciplinary rules, parent meetings, and punishments such as detentions and loss of privileges. Among punishments used in schools, being excluded (or suspended) is one of the most serious consequences of students’ misbehaviour.

This study will investigate which school-based interventions for reducing exclusions are the most effective in doing so. It will explore this issue by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of previous research, something that has not been carried out before in this area.

The researchers will compare different approaches – for example school-wide management, classroom management, restorative practices, and cognitive-behavioural interventions – to identify those which can demonstrate the largest and most significant effects. They will control for factors such as students’ age, ethnicity and gender; the characteristics of the interventions and their implementation; and crucially, study quality. By bringing together the results of many different studies, the researchers will be able to produce a rigorous statistical summary of interventions in this area.

The study aims to produce a much-needed evidence-base for school managers, policy makers and researchers.

Project details


Professor Manuel Eisner, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

Grant amount and duration:


1 August 2014 – 1 March 2018