When you think about pupil exclusions, what do you think? Do you think that the pupil being excluded must have some kind of behavioural problem that needs fixing before being allowed to attend a mainstream school? I’ll bet the majority of people reading this do. However, when it comes to pupil exclusions, there is more than meets the eye and the area is not so black and white.
The Department for Education have recently announced a review for practices associated with exclusions, to ensure fair decisions are being made. Why is an improvement in the system necessary? The answer to this is rather shocking. Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union recently stated that, ‘’Requiring schools to compete as if they are supermarket chains treats children as commodities and leads to pressure on schools to select their intake and increase pupil exclusions.’’ What is the result of treating students as commodities? Again, the results are worrying.
A recent article published in The Guardian gives readers the exact figures of excluded pupils. An astonishing 6,685 pupils in England alone were excluded between 2015-2016. This issue is clearly not improving and there are currently 48,000 students studying in AP schools designed especially for excluded pupils. It is feared that thousands of students have been illegally excluded, something that Ofsted are not only aware of, but are trying to help combat.
How Can a Pupil Be Illegally Excluded?
Parents obviously do not wish for their child to be excluded from their school, plus, it looks bad on the school’s record and the student’s record. Many schools recommend parents to home-school their children, rather than permanently exclude their child from the school. An arrangement can be made where children are part home-schooled and part educated in a mainstream school. Home-schooling in the UK is fully legal although not widely practiced.
Why Are So Many Children Being Excluded?
As well as reasons mentioned above, it appears that discrimination in schools is rife and although morally unacceptable, many schools answer with exclusion, instead of tackling the main problem. Discrimination is not the sole purpose of so many exclusions; the variety of other reasons include: too much competition for scores and tests in schools (excluding poor scoring students means better results) and issues relating to wealth and extra needs (those excluded are usually from poorer families or in need of assistance whilst studying).
Whatever the reasons for so many pupil exclusions in today’s education system, it is apparent that many of them are for unfair or disgraceful reasons. It’s time to question the system and stand up for what is right.