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(UK) Southwark: London borough stops expelling students; "not about ignoring behavioural problems"

July 19, 2022, Daily Mail: Labour-run council becomes first in UK to stop excluding pupils for behaving badly unless they are risk to other children's safety

South London

Educators in Southwark will no longer exclude students for their bad behaviour
They will instead use a 'trauma-informed response' to understand misbehaviour
It comes after a report in April called for a ban on exclusions in primary schools
Students in a Labour-run council will no longer be excluded from school for their bad behaviour, it has been revealed.

In what is believed to be a UK first, secondary schools in Southwark, south London, will allow misbehaving pupils to remain as long as they do not put another child's safety at risk. Teachers will instead be encouraged to understand the reasons behind the bad behaviour by using a 'trauma-informed response' and to not take it at 'face value.' …

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), councillors want the borough to be the first in England to exclude no pupils in the coming years…. Southwark police will also be asked to sign up to the agreement, which reads: 'Our aspiration is for 100 per cent inclusion of children in education that keeps them safe and enables them to flourish.

'Where appropriate, we will implement a trauma-informed response to behaviour of concern in children….

'In 2018 we were rightly concerned that 49 pupils were excluded from education in this borough and they were disproportionately represented by children and young people of black and minority ethnic backgrounds, special education need or disability and many of them had care experience.'

A Department for Education spokesperson said: 'All pupils should be able to learn in a calm, safe, and supportive environment.

'Whilst we support headteachers to choose how and when to use suspensions, we are also clear that schools and local authorities should not adopt a 'no exclusion' policy as an end in itself, as it could present safeguarding issues and expose staff and pupils to unreasonable risks….

It comes after a report in April suggested there be no exclusions in primary schools from 2026 onwards….

Ms Longfield said the report is not about ignoring behavioural problems in schools but is about bringing in 'a new era of inclusivity'…..

'They don't have often that specialist support on hand, and to some, sadly, they say exclusion is the only option for them.

'That's why we want to see a new era of inclusivity that can support those children to thrive.'…

It called for exclusions from school of primary school age children to be ended within the next four years, with schools 'supported with the necessary resources to achieve this'.

It added that all schools should report how many pupils have been excluded or moved from their rolls every year.

The report noted that vulnerable pupils are sometimes 'viewed as a problem that can be pushed onto someone else to deal with' and that some schools have used tactics such as managed moves, off-rolling, exclusions or encouraging families to pursue 'home education'.

One parent who spoke to the commission, whose child later received an autism diagnosis, said her son was excluded 17 times from school at the age of five.

'The school said there was defiance and violence, but he was literally tiny,' she said….


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