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I should have permanently excluded....but didn’t

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Steve5737, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Steve5737

    Steve5737 New commenter

    Interested in others thoughts on this.

    Scenario. Very challenging young girl. Diagnosis of autism. Has had enhanced support from Aitism Outreach Team. Has virtual 1:1 support with now funding from LA as govs had dug into reserves to support child. Child is a climber, runner from class, spends little or no time in class, does not respond to a pay adults, has been turned down twice for EHCP but finally is now having assessment for this.
    Recently and not for first time, she trashed classroom. Following this, threatened her 1:1 with pair of scissors.

    I excluded fixed term for week and a half leading into half term. We have worked so hard with this damaged child. I believe School leaders have to try everything in their powers not to PX.

    But I think I may have been too weak here???
  2. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    What happens now? I agree that permanent exclusion is a last resort but what other resorts are there?

    More importantly is the reaction of other witnesses to this decision?
    • This is a precedent that means it's going to be nearly impossible to exclude anyone else. Who will play up knowing this.
    • What about the threatened 1:1, will she be happy to work in the same school any more? And her work colleagues?
    • What about the non-excludee, what possible threat of discipline can get through to her?

    The big problem with the pyramid structure for discipline is that the dedicated few who reach the top then have to be removed, otherwise the whole disciplinary system ceases to have any meaning.

    To answer your question. I think you did the wrong thing.:)
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  3. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Can you salvage it by saying last last warning and any further offence, however 'minor' will lead to permanent exclusion?
  4. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Yes but I’m not sure about any minor offence. The threatening with scissors would have done it for me. However, the week and a half was a serious fixed term exclusion. She now has a last chance and you’ve had time to think if anything changes.
    Pomza likes this.
  5. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Autistic kids are great.

    They do not fit into traditional school systems very easily.

    It is possible to make great progress with them.

    Feel free to give us a ring.

    biscuitmonster1 likes this.
  6. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    Hindsight is wonderful. You did what you thought was the right thing to do at the time, try to remember that. I don't have an answer on what the right or wrong this is. I've been going through these thoughts myself recently having put in place reduced timetables, support, contacted behaviour support, met with parents etc etc etc and still not seeing an improvement. Don't beat yourself up for doing what you thought was right.
  7. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    I agree with abacus1982.
    However, you and your governors seem to be doing everything for the child BUT what about the other children? Why isn't the LA supporting (not that they do much anyway!). There comes a time when you have to think of the 'bigger picture' and I think this is it now. Warn the child and parents and stick to your warning without fail.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    PEx would have been justified but that doesn't mean you were wrong to only FTE. I don't think you have been weak, you are doing your best as you see it for a child with demanding needs, balancing their needs with the those of the rest of the school community.

    Personally I think you would be right to say that any further serious misconduct MAY or IS LIKELY to result in PEx. Do say 'may' or 'is likely to' though, not 'will definitely/automatically'. (Because exclusion statutory guidance requires you to consider the individual circumstances of a child's behaviour before you PEx, which you - arguably - wouldn't have done if you said PEx for next act of misconduct PEx will be automatic).
    Pomza and Marshall like this.
  9. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    I've been in a similar situation - could have PEXd but decided against it. So I agree with Rott Weiler. You would have been justified, but the fact that you didn't doesn't mean you were wrong not to. You are still fighting for this child at the moment. It maybe that the issue of placement can be considered as part of the EHCP process. What can you do to reduce her anxiety? I'd say don't even try and have her in class right now - she needs some nurture and sense of belonging. As part of the reintegration meeting, I'd be looking to agree a part time attendance pattern so she (and you) experience success....
    ClearAutism likes this.
  10. ClearAutism

    ClearAutism New commenter

    How has this child been TWICE refused an EHCP? Unbelievable.

    These are excellent points. It sounds like she may be experiencing sensory and/or emotional overload and if you don't/can't address the cause(s) then bringing her back into class will be disastrous for everyone. You don't mention her age or what real support she has - is her 1:1 properly trained in autism and/or PDA? What techniques have been tried up to now?
    I'm slightly bothered by the use of the term "weak"...is it therefore "strong" to exclude a disabled child?
  11. biscuitmonster1

    biscuitmonster1 New commenter

    I’m bothered by the term ‘damaged child’ been autistic doesn’t make you damaged. My child is a violent autistic girl and picks up on any negative attitudes towards her behaviour.
  12. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    How old is your girl @biscuitmonster1 ?

    I may be able to give you some ideas.

  13. jellandy

    jellandy New commenter

    Building on previous posts: check your LA policy and national guidance.... a certain number of FT Exclusions within a given timeframe can lead to a P Ex. Is there a LA / MAT Behaviour Support Team that a referral can be made to? Any other external advice - eg ASD Advisory Service?? Exclusions for children with additional needs do need to be robustly evidenced as the only / most appropriate sanction in order to withstand any parental challenge.
  14. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Excluding a child will not 'cure' them of autism.

    biscuitmonster1 likes this.
  15. Eamaz

    Eamaz New commenter

    Kevin, out of interest, what experience have you got with Autistic children? I really want to know as you must have loads, explaining why you sound so condescending!
  16. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Hi @Eamaz

    I do have plenty of experience with autistic children. This is why I invite anyone to ring me as I do not know where to start always.

    A story ...

    A nine year old lad called Gordon once knocked on my door. He said he had heard about me and wanted to learn magic. He lived in the next street.

    I later learnt he had already been booted out of the poshest school in the neighbourhood and ended up at the roughest when he was 7 years old. He had aspergers syndrome.

    He was my most perfect pupil. He started helping me out on gigs.

    He had his first professional solo booking when he was 11. They needed a clown in the middle of Birmingham for something or other. I was elsewhere that day so his mum took him in. A paid morning off school.

    He was at an ordinary secondary school but I heard his teachers were at a bit of a loss with him. I don't quite know why.

    Later that term he helped me out at an EBD secondary school in Leicester. He started the day off for me with his magic show for the entire school. I was watching and suddenly realised there was complete silence. Not just all the EBD pupils all older than him but the staff too watching him in awe! This 'failed kid' according to his teachers was doing something I wonder if many magicians in the world could achieve?

    He regularly did balloon modelling bookings, handling a queue as good as any adult.

    He moved away when he was 13.

  17. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Hi again @Eamaz

    I was working at a special school on Friday. A TA came across to me. She pointed out a girl who was joining in all the fun. This girl was blind and could not speak English - from Slovakia apparently. She had been attacking her teachers in class. She also pointed out another lad who had dressed himself up as a clown. Apparently he never usually joined in activities. Presumably he was autistic. I am always being approached by teachers, TA's etc surprised by the positive attitudes of their charges.

    I get perfect behaviour in my classes with most kids joining in. This is why I am always happy to give advice.

    Autistic kids can respond wonderfully well given the right activities.

  18. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Hi @Eamaz

    Another tale ...

    I was at special school 2-3 years ago with my circus workshop. I was having a chat with the deputy headteacher at break time. I was recommending she buy some of the equipment I use for ongoing work with her pupils.

    Her response took me slightly by surprise. They had just had an ofsted inspection. She told me the ofsted inspectors didn't understand autism. The unsaid feedback I was getting was that they could do what they like so long as the paperwork was in order - stuff the pupils!

  19. Eamaz

    Eamaz New commenter


    Thanks Kevin, it does genuinely seem as though you helped many autustic children that you have worked with. I

    It could be argued that your successes have been when have been encountering more unusual, extra curricular activities. I would imagine when children, faced with demands that are less exciting - like reading, writing and maths calculations might be more resistant and present more challenging behaviours. Your original posts seemed to imply that the OP and other posters didn't really have any knowledge or expertise with autism - but I would hedge my bets (due to the forum we are on) that infact they have more than a little experience.
  20. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Hi @Eamaz ,

    What I do is quite different from the traditional teacher. When faced with challenging circumstances teachers could use some of my ideas to make their lives easier. I often point out exactly how in schools I am working in.

    Are you interested in special needs yourself @Eamaz ? Indeed are you a headteacher?

    Feel free to ring for a chat.

    Even Nick Gibb wrote me a letter inviting me to the House of Commons for a chat about special needs. I must find it sometime. It is around the house somewhere in amongst all the entertainment related junk I have!

    All the best.

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018

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