Tackling exclusion in our schools
As a governor myself, I have insight into how school exclusions are used as the last resort, and how wrenching the decision can be to exclude a pupil from an education setting.
We have a duty to provide the best outcomes for all our learners, but we have to balance this against the safeguarding of others in the setting, as well as the resources we have available to use. We’re all aware of the potential consequences of exclusion, last summer a viral marketing stunt from students under the title ‘Education Not Exclusion’ bought the issue starkly into the media limelight.
It is therefore interesting to see former MP & Minister Edward Timpson’s review own school exclusions which was published in May. Having taken a call for evidence, visited various settings and met with stakeholders from across the sector, he has set out 30 recommendations to drive down the number of exclusions, ‘to improve the standards in schools for every child, creating the conditions in which we can be confident that schools have the support they need to ensure every decision to exclude is lawful, reasonable and fair’.
The full list of recommendations is included in the complete report, and the government has subsequently responded with 4 key commitments, stating it will:
- Always support head teachers to maintain safe and orderly environments for the benefit of all pupils and staff in their schools.
- Support schools and their partners to put in place effective interventions to give pupils at risk of exclusion the best chance to succeed.
- Provide greater clarity for school leaders about when and how it is appropriate for children to be removed from their school, and make sure there is sufficient oversight when pupils move around the education system.
- Support schools and providers of alternative provision so that pupils who have been excluded from school continue to benefit from high quality education.’
In order to achieve this, the government will make schools accountable for the outcomes of permanently excluded children. This is not without its challenges and controversy, especially when working across multiple providers and services.
It is therefore encouraging that the government will also set up a practice programme with the aim to embed effective partnership working between LAs, schools, alternative provision and other partners. This, combined with clearer, more consistent guidance on exclusions being published by summer 2020 will help build confidence we can support excluded learners to achieve in whatever setting is appropriate for them.
The government has also stated it will extend support for alternative provision (AP) – although, as has been noted elsewhere – this isn’t a commitment to additional money, I’d welcome anything that helps raise the profile and expands the work of this lifeline for excluded learners.
We’re never going to eliminate school exclusions entirely, but hopefully we can as a sector safeguard the best interests of our pupils so we can create opportunities for all young people in our care.
Latest News from
Providing more diverse options for learners studying English and maths qualifications08/11/2019 16:15:00
An article by TES recently highlighted new Department for Education data which revealed that 2 in 3 students who resit their English and maths GCSEs make no progress, compared to the first time they take the tests.
T Levels could change everything. Are you ready?08/11/2019 11:15:00
To those who work in schools, you may feel somewhat isolated from the onset of T Levels, however, the reverberations are being felt across the educational landscape and as such, their impact is also set to land at the door of secondary schools.
Embracing new technology in the classroom08/11/2019 09:37:00
Too much and too little technology in the classroom can get a bad rap and it feels as if teachers must make their choice as to whether to align themselves with the ‘old school’ or the ‘new age’.
Focusing on mental health to improve learner outcomes and retention07/11/2019 16:43:00
In recent years, there’s been continued focus and press attention about young peoples’ mental health, putting it at the forefront of the minds of educators.
Using technology to transform the way you teach07/11/2019 12:20:00
It’s not an exaggeration to say that technology is revolutionising education making it a fantastic time to be teaching. There are so many websites, systems and software just waiting to be discovered and used.
NCFE qualification supports learner to gain apprenticeship at Manchester’s luxury Midland Hotel07/11/2019 09:25:00
Luke Bennett, a learner at Newall Green High School, has secured an apprenticeship at the luxury Midland Hotel in Manchester after completing a technical qualification in food and cookery from NCFE.
Beat the machines and develop creative thinking in the classroom05/11/2019 11:15:00
It seems that the rate at which automated machines are taking over jobs that have previously been completed by humans is increasing dramatically and we could be on track to become defunct, but is that really the case?
Future-proofing Apprenticeship Funding in England for the 2020s08/10/2019 14:15:00
The Brexit impasse continues. The economy is slowing. And a general election looks likely before the new year.