The BBC Education page is carrying an interesting story today about exclusions as if it is news. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37340042 Regular readers of this blog will of course know that the data under discussion in the BBC piece first appeared on the DfE web site way back in July of this year and was featured in a blog post here on the 23rd July 2016. I look a slightly different line to that of the BBC in their item today as readers can see.
Should the BBC have indicated somewhere that this was catching up on data published nearly three months ago? Or is it just enough to allow those that use the click-through function to discover this when they are taken to the DfE’s web site?
This is a legitimate question since Greg Hurst, the Education Editor of The Times picked up on the BBC story and ran with it in today’s paper. I don’t know why the BBC decided to do a piece on the increase in exclusions today and it is an important tissue. Digging more deeply into the figures it is important to know whether children in care are more likely to be excluded than those living at home and whether it is more of a challenge for local authorities to find places for some pupils that are excluded.
We are right to be intolerant of abuse, whether physical or verbal which represents the main reasons for exclusions, but why do some schools in challenging areas manage with far fewer exclusions that other schools in similar circumstances? It is easy for me to write those words as I am not a young teacher in a new classroom faced by a disruptive group of adolescents or a new head teacher trying to re-assert authority in a school where behaviour is not always at acceptable levels.
How important are school to school support mechanisms, whether from MATs, diocese or even, perish the through, local authorities? Do stand-alone schools exclude more pupils than those in some form of association with other schools? There are lots of legitimate questions to be asked from the data beyond focussing on the geography, as I admit I did in the start of my post in July and the BBC did in their item today, as I have indicated above.
Once the secondary school population starts increasing again it is likely the absolute numbers of exclusions could increase, but we much try and do everything possible to make schools secure and safe places for everyone, even those that create the challenges to authority.