There was an interesting letter in the Times on Saturday from the chief executive of an organisation that works with pupils at risk of exclusion.
The writer calls for more “imaginative, multilayered support and personalised learning options” for these sorts of students.
If you get rid of the jargon, he’s basically calling for children who, in the old days would have been expelled or suspended for their bad behaviour, to be helped to improve before it gets too bad.
I never quite know what tone to take when I’m talking to head teachers about exclusions. Are parents glad when their children’s school excludes lots of pupils because it shows they are strict and take a tough approach on bad behaviour? Or does it suggest the school is unable to control its kids?
Whatever, schools are under a lot of pressure from central Government to reduce the number of exclusions. Leicester is doing quite well in this regard. An example of the “imaginative, personalised learning” option was demonstrated by David Kershaw as soon as he took over as executive head of Fullhurst College.
As alluded to in its latest Ofsted report which I wrote about for the Leicester Mercury on Monday, a group of the most disruptive students were taken out of the classroom and moved to the Braunstone Skills Centre where they are now doing qualifications such as plumbing and car maintenance, more suited to their needs.
While it’s very easy to jump up and down at bad behaviour in school and call for pupils to be expelled, society has to deal with the consequences further down the line.
The statistics are staggering – according to figures published recently by the Prison Reform Trust, two fifths of adult male prisoners had been excluded from school – so if we can help them when they’re young, we might just be helping ourselves too.