Today (Tuesday 7 May), we are expecting the publication of the Timpson Review into school exclusion practice in England. To coincide, school leaders’ union NAHT, which represents leaders in the majority of schools in England has published the written evidence that it gave to the review.
Summarising NAHT’s evidence, Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary, said: “In our view it is not possible or helpful to consider exclusion as a stand-alone problem.
“Schools and young people are facing a double-whammy of cuts to education funding as well as the impact of cuts to the health and social care services on which they desperately rely for support.
“Funding shortages, the existing curriculum and accountability system, and the unavailability and inaccessibility of specialist health and social care all work against schools’ best efforts to avoid excluding children.
“Exclusion is a legitimate, but limited, response to very challenging behaviour, physical violence or repeated disruption of learning. School leaders have a duty to make sure that they provide a safe environment in which all pupils can learn. It is a last resort, but there are circumstances where it is the only appropriate response to extreme pupil behaviour.
“Besides greater levels of funding, the way forward is to make it easier to for schools to work together and have access to other support services so that there is some collective responsibility for the outcomes and well-being of all pupils.
“Too often provision for pupils at risk of exclusion is regarded as a separate element of educational provision for a specific group of pupils, in the same way that Special and Specialist schools are frequently ‘set aside’ from the mainstream. We urgently need to change this situation.
“What is most clear is that more support for schools, rather than more sanctions, is what will make the difference for pupils at risk of exclusion.”
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