exclusions, Happy in School, Timposon Review

Suzy Rowland, Channel 5 News: Timpson Review on Exclusions

A good indicator of an inclusive school or successful whole school approach to SEND is surely the degree to children with SEN are excluded or repeatedly excluded from school. Like incarceration, there appears to be a high likelihood of a repeat exclusion if a school has decided to make the decision to exclude once. The seal is broken, the die is cast.

Parents and school staff can, of course, turn the situation around post exclusion, and the more time that elapses after the child or young person moves away from the exclusion, the more likely they are to get into a new groove. But there are lots of factors that need to be in place to ensure that the child has a successful re-introduction to school, especially after a fixed term exclusion (these are detailed in my forthcoming book). But in a nutshell, there must be:

  1. a concerted effort on behalf of the teaching staff to understand the deeper reasons for the child’s behaviour to deteriorate significantly for an exclusion to be the only course of action left.
  2. a concerted effort of the child and their parent/carers to work collaboratively with the school, to support the child to enable them to behave within an acceptable framework of the school’s behaviour policy.

Working with children with specific difficulties creates additional issues for schools to address – ranging from investigating a diagnosis, creating specific education plans, ensuring the right support if required – all of which can be time-consuming. But if there is genuine commitment from all parties, the time and effort can turn a potentially hopeless situation around. Isn’t that something working for? It is here, at the apex of effort, angst, investment and hard work, where inclusion bursts forth not as a buzz word to strive for, but a march for equality and opportunity to improve the young person’s life-chances and well-being. Sometimes the young person or even their family, can’t see that far ahead, sometimes the exclusion is the start of a complex diagnosis process. Neither scenarios are a breeze, but still worth being a teacher and parent for, eh?

What’s your experience of exclusion?

Parents:

When was your child first excluded?

Did you have further exclusions?

Does your child have autism or ADHD? (a hidden disability)

Was your child diagnosed after an exclusion?

Did the situation at school improve after your child’s exclusion?

Do you feel the exclusion was fare?

Is your child Black Caribbean?

Headteachers:

Is pupil’s behaviour generally improved after exclusion?

How important is parent involvement and co-operation, when the fixed period is over?

Is exclusion is sign of school failure to enforce boundaries or the child’s failure to adhere to the school’s policy?

Do you feel that putting exclusions in a league table is helpful for current or prospective parents? or just another piece of admin?

Would access to greater funding help you support children with specific issues within school, therefore avoiding the need for exclusion?

Polarising opinions are rarely useful, especially in education, what are your thoughts on a solution to reduce a generation of children from specific backgrounds or with special educational needs being wiped out of the education system?

 

© Suzy Rowland

 

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