“Wild west” system of school exclusions is failing pupils, say MPs

Jul 25, 2018 by

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Education committee report claims too many children are punished for minor incidents

An increasing number of children are being unnecessarily excluded from schools and “abandoned” in alternative provision (AP) which too often fails to give them the education they need to thrive, according to a cross-party committee of MPs.

A critical report by the Commons education select committee said that zero-tolerance behaviour policies meant too many pupils were being punished and excluded for incidents that should be managed within the school.

While they agreed a zero-tolerance approach to drugs or weapons was entirely reasonable, MPs warned schools against overreacting to minor breaches of haircut or uniform policy which led to pupils being “punished needlessly”.

The report also identified a “lack of moral accountability” on the part of many schools, with there being little or no incentive to retain challenging pupils. And it called on the government to address the problem of off-rolling – where pupils are removed from the register before their GCSEs to helpschools maximise league table scores.

The publication on Wednesday of the committee’s Forgotten Children report follows government statistics last week which revealed a sharp rise in the number of children excluded from state schools in England. There have been more than 40 permanent exclusions a day in 2016-17, compared with 35 a day the previous year.

The education committee described the exclusion rate as “a scandal” and raised additional concerns about “alarming” increases in hidden exclusions, where pupils are kept in internal isolation on school sites or informally excluded.

Source: “Wild west” system of school exclusions is failing pupils, say MPs | Education | The Guardian

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