Investigation into expulsions at Victorian Government schools

This investigation found a disproportionate number of children expelled from Victorian Government schools have a disability, are in out of home care, or identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
The report found significant reform is required to measure exactly how many children are excluded from government schools each year, and to ensure no child is ever excluded entirely from the Victorian education system.
A previous Ombudsman investigation in 2015 on the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners identified educational disadvantage starting in childhood as a key factor leading to imprisonment as an adult.
The Ombudsman called for additional resources for principals facing the difficult balancing act of supporting children with challenging behaviours while also providing a safe environment for work and study.
The investigation - which involved outreach with parent and community groups across the state – identified that many children expelled from schools display behaviour stemming from disruption and disadvantage in their lives and called for major investment in the school system to help such children.
The key recommendations from the report were:
  • [That the Minister for Education] Amend Ministerial Order 625 to ensure that a principal cannot expel a student aged eight years old or less from any government school without the approval of the Secretary or her delegate and consider any additional changes to the Order necessary to give effect to the recommendations that follow.
  • [That the Department of Education] Embed the principle and expectation in policy or guidance that no student of compulsory school age will be excluded from the government school system (even if expelled from an individual government school).
The investigation did not examine expulsions from private schools, as the Victorian Ombudsman does not have jurisdiction in the area.
Read the media release