A new scheme to give schools more responsibility over the fate of excluded pupils has reduced the number of expulsions.
This is the conclusion of research carried out by the Institute of Education and National Foundation for Education Research, which have published a report on a trial carried out in 11 local authorities.
The study showed institutions that kept a "dual registration" of their pupils, ensuring youngsters remained on their books while being taught in alternative provision, achieved better outcomes than other schools.
Such institutions had an incentive to ensure these pupils obtained good results, as they would count towards performance tables and feature in Ofsted inspections. Schools were particularly focused on boosting pupils' attainment levels in English and maths.
In addition, schools that took responsibility for excluded pupils were able to make better arrangements for alternative learning provision.
"Over the course of the evaluation there was change in the pupils designated as at risk
with many of the pupils initially designated at risk no longer considered so," the report concludes.
"This suggests that the changes in processes and the interventions adopted by schools were having a positive impact on at risk pupils."
Under normal circumstances, local authorities would assume responsibility for pupils that had been excluded from schools.
However, it is becoming increasingly common for such authorities to delegate care for excluded pupils to schools, and the trial was carried out as an appraisal of this method.
A further finding of the report was that levels of "inclusion" were raised, with excluded pupils still seen as part of the wider school community.
One headteacher commented that many such pupils are vulnerable, and the new arrangements ensure they know the school had done its best for their welfare and they would be able to contribute to society later on in life.
A Department of Education spokesman told the Daily Mail it was particularly encouraging to see schools focusing on English and maths, which are the most important subjects for excluded pupils.
Posted by Harriet McGowan