Pupils excluded from school at 12 are four times as likely as other children to be jailed as adults, according to a new study by Edinburgh University academics.
Research found that boys, children living in single parent families and those from the poorest communities were most likely to be barred from school. They also concluded that equally badly behaved pupils from more affluent areas and those from two-parent families were accorded greater tolerance and, as a consequence, were far less likely to be expelled.
The study compared the outcomes of children who had been referred to the hearing system by the age of 12 with a closely matched group of young people involved in equally serious levels of offending who had not been referred. Researchers found that those who had been referred were around five times more likely to end up in prison by the age of 24.
It concluded that early intervention in the lives of children identified as presenting “the greatest risk” did not necessarily reduce offending, but may well groom young people for later imprisonment.