It is quite startling that LAC and children on FSM can be up to 5 times more likely to be excluded from school than their peers. Reasons for exclusion more often than not are related to behaviour. Schools are placed in a difficult position as they must ensure the wellbeing and responsibility for the whole classroom. When faced with young people who commit physical assault, verbal abuse and persistent disruptive behaviour, the choices seem very limited but to exclude the young person.
Many excluded young people are normally transferred to PRUs (pupil referral units). Some offer excellent services of intervention. However this is not without problems as there can be a significant variation in the effectiveness of intervention services. Another area of major concern is the delays encountered in the transfer of excluded students. Ofsted state a requirement that child must be provided full-time and suitable education from day six of a permanent exclusion. It is common for young people to be without this requirement for months.
Most exclusions are due to discipline problems and stem from the young person’s home. It is everybody’s interest to address this as costs are left to bear to the following,
– The young people suffer the most themselves.
– The classroom peers who they are in a class with.
– The local community in which they live, suffers from those out of school and not engaged in education. As the young person may be sitting at home all day or free to roam the streets.
– The costs are magnified and left to the local police force and criminal justice system in the long run if a young person goes on to commit an offence.
– Inevitably the taxpayer and the public will bear the social and economic cost if a young person does not complete their education and remain left behind in an ever increasingly competitive job market.
Investing in the right services and using effective intervention can reduce, if not alleviate a lot the mentioned costs. LAC and children on FSM face significant challenges, which are not shared with their more privileged peers. There is most definitely a need to increase the amount and diversity of intervention services and alternative education provisions depending on the young person’s needs. Addressing these behaviour problems offers a fairer and more equal start to life for those who are disadvantaged from the beginning.