25 July 2018
Commenting on the report of the House of Commons Education Committee on school exclusions, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We have to do better for young people who are having problems in mainstream schools and are either at risk of exclusion or who need alternative provision. These are the young people on the margins, who are at most risk of severely reduced life chances, and we all have a moral responsibility to look after them. We are extremely concerned that school exclusions have risen as a direct result of government underfunding. Real-terms cuts have meant that schools are less able to provide the early intervention and support that is needed to prevent behaviour problems escalating to the point of exclusion. We also need a national strategy and the necessary funding to ensure high-quality alternative provision is available consistently across the country.
“However, this is not just a job for government. It isn’t acceptable for any school to ‘off-roll’ pupils to improve their standings in performance tables, use in-school support units inappropriately or adopt inflexible behaviour policies which lead to more exclusions. We are aware of anecdotal reports of these practices but we believe they are rare and they are certainly deplored by the vast majority of school leaders. ASCL has established an ethical leadership commission to support leaders and teachers in calling out such practices.”