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April 20, 2007



Very little is the answer to your last question.

My school has some serious disciplinary problems and I have sat through a couple of fixed term exclusion hearings for pupils aged 9 years old. The biggest headache we face is trying to balance the needs of the school and the needs of the pupil. In a school with just one class per year disruptive pupils have an enormous impact. However, we also have a duty of care to the pupil and the poverty of options for children upon explusion is appalling. As a result the pupil often stays in school far longer than is healthy and when he is eventually expelled has very little chance of receiving any sort of a valid education.


It's hard to believe that a 5-year old has the moral understanding of his or her actions sufficient to warrant permanent (life-long?) exclusion from formal education. After all, the law does not believe that young children are morally self-aware agents. Are the children in these cases being punished by school authorities, or is it in fact their parents who are being punished via an expulsion?


The exclusion figures are intimately linked with the failures in the SEN system (which the Ed & Skills Select Committee describes as 'demonstrably no longer fit for purpose'). 87% of primary and 60% of secondary exclusions are of children with SENs. around a quarter of children on the autistic spectrum end up excluded.

It is appalling that the govt deflects criticism of its failure to reform the SEN system by dishing out red-top soundbites about 'behaviour', bad children and bad parents. Until the SEN problem is tackled, it's hard to see how anything can be done about exclusions - unless one can afford specialist private education.

Nich Starling

the government have got to stop relying on schools to deal with children who are excluded and to start providing from government more family support, parenting skills classes and more of an overview of the whole family problems. My experience of kids who have been exclused leaves me to ask how are we as school teachers expected to get a child back on the straight and narrow if his parents tell himk schools is not important, he is positively encouraged to tell teachers what he thinks of themk and his pocket money is earned by going out with his dad at wekeends to steal motorbikes and get money from cash-boxes in phone boxes ?

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