Pilot Project

During 2019, we conducted a preliminary pilot study to examine the legislative policies in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. This pilot revealed that there are differences between the states in how they define exclusionary practices, what behaviours warrant exclusion, who has the authority to sanction exclusions, the duration of exclusions, and the provision of appeal processes (Sullivan, Johnson, Slee, Manolev, & Tippett, 2019).

For example, grounds for exclusion vary from disengaged behaviours such as ‘indifference to school work’ to anti-social/aggressive behaviours such as ‘acting illegally’ (Sullivan et al., 2019). The findings of our pilot research suggest that exclusionary practices are encouraged by legislation as an effective means to manage repetitive or ‘difficult’ student behaviour in schools. In doing so, the legislation clearly frames individual students as the ‘problem’ when civil relationships break down in schools; it largely ignores the influence of complex home lives, poor teaching and repressive discipline regimes in compromising student–teacher relationships.


The following Partner Organisations contributed funds and/or in-kind support to the pilot study:

UNICEF Australia

The Commissioner for Children and Young People, South Australia

Commissioner for Children and Young People, Western Australia

Commission for Children and Young People, Victoria

Australian Secondary Principals Association

Australian Primary Principals Association

South Australian Secondary Principals Association

South Australian Primary Principals Association

Queensland Secondary Principals’ Association

Western Australian Secondary School Executives Association