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Should schools be allowed to exclude students? What other options are there?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by gstreeks, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. gstreeks

    gstreeks New commenter

    I have been thinking a lot recently about behaviour management and at the final stage of this in schools seems to be internal/external exclusion. I understand that by the time the school gets to the point of permanently excluding a student they have tried a range of different strategies but what are the benefits for anyone in permanent exclusion? The school may benefit from having that student removed, other than that, the student suffers from being excluded, has to either settle into a new school (probably upsetting/missing learning), the family are left to now find the student a new school or Pupil Referral Unit and the Pupil Referral Unit now have one more student to work with. Things have changed a lot in the last 30 years but I know many adults whose lives went downhill when they were excluded from school. Is there another way to deal with really difficult students? Are we really supporting them in the best way possible. Now, don't get me wrong, it is awful to watch a whole classes learning suffer from the misbehaviour of one student and this misbehaviour needs to be dealt with severely but what other safety nets could be put in place to help these students? Is there enough support and investigation into the root cause of the misbehaviour?

    The other side of this is, should we be forcing students who do not fit into the school environment to continue in education until 16? Do you think it would be better if they could be offered apprenticeships or practical work/study opportunities?

    I would value your thoughts and discussions!

    Thank you.
  2. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Teach them to unicycle.

    The most talented 'unicycling hooligan' told me he 'left school at 14' after an 'altercation with a teacher'.

    Currently a personal trainer and a family man.

    He did have some other mishaps along the way. He finally knocked on my door after a fellow heroin addict had hung himself. "Had I heard? Perhaps drugs are not such a good idea ... Could I give him a reference?"

    Started as a cleaner and quickly worked his way up to the surprise of the other unicycling hooligans.

  3. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Problem is that safety nets costs money. There is no money. MAT CEOs are down to single figure pay rises in some places.
  4. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    OP - I think you are thinking about this from the wrong angle. If a person gets to permanent exclusion it is because they have committed serious criminal acts e.g. sexual assault / GBH or persistent disruptive behaviour. Should we worry more about the individual causing the problem or the victims (literally in the case of the criminal acts) of their actions?

    What are the benefits of permanent exclusion?
    1. It can make the school a safer place. For every violent act a student commits for which they are punished, there would usually be more that went under the radar.
    2. The pupils whose learning was being disrupted can actually focus on improving their knowledge in lessons rather than suffer hours of sitting in silence whilst chaos went on around them
    3. The individual involved may get a fresh start in a new setting. Unfortunately this is the least likely to happen, partly due to lack of funding but partly due to the fact that individuals that get permanently excluded often continue with their behaviour
  5. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Plus those 'followers' whose behaviour is bad but not yet bad enough for the elbow may get the message.
  6. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    What can we do to help students from getting permanently excluded? I'm with scienceguy 100% when he says we should be thinking about the students who are having their education wrecked by bad behaviour and disruption.

    OK, there may be some students who cannot control their behaviour due to psychological or physical reasons but the vast majority of appalling, disruptive behaviour is the conscious choice of those who feel they need to show off or pathetically draw attention to themselves in the deluded belief that this brings them kudos with their peers. Wrong! It simply breeds resentment and despair amongst those trying to make the best of their schooling and influences those who are easily led. Exclude them with a clear conscience and worry as much about their futures as they worry about the futures of their classmates.
  7. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Most schools follow a pyramid behaviour system which have a basic weakness, a few dedicated disrupters always manage to make it to the top of the pyramid and the system can't allow for then to start a
    fresh again at the bottom of the pyramid, so they have to go, and permanent exclusion is the final option there.

    There are other behaviour systems but variations on the pyramid appear to be the cheapest option going so it's hardly surprising schools are turning to it (and excluding like mad)
  8. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    If children won't work and their parents don't care - should they be told to stand aside for a while whilst consideration is given as to whether they are allowed further education or not? In the olden days they didn't need all of this. A simple thing like the 'cane' in the corner of the room sorted out their problems - (our problems).
  9. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Established commenter

    "Include" them.
  10. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Senior commenter

    As a child I went to a 6th form that was struggling financially. A friend of mine was not doing so well in his a levels due to the lack of a permanent teacher and no support. We were told we could go for interviews during the school day if we hand one and he went for a job interview and told his form tutor where he was going. The school excluded him in March, 3 months before he was due to take his a levels. The school said they meant university interviews, not job interviews.

    This type of exclusion I absolutely disagree with; getting rid of children once you have their funding because they will have a negative impact on results.

    Excluding children because they are a danger to others and you have exhausted all other options? I agree with that. If the government provides more funding then maybe the children could be better supported in schools.
    BetterNow and JohnJCazorla like this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    Ofsted could teach them and some hts/ ceos who have no teaching timetables whatsoever . This would give schools far more support than they get.

    It would save education a mint, and show that those high in education are not scared to challenge difficult students :cool:
  12. gstreeks

    gstreeks New commenter

    I agree that the safety and education of other children is important, but I wish that there was more investigation into what is causing the behaviour? There may be some students who just act up to impress others, but I believe some are reacting to other problems that may be as yet undiscovered/untreated (this is from discussions with young offenders and ex offenders). Also if this was implemented earlier and behaviour policies were super strict would this come to a head before 'dangerous' behaviour? I know this varies widely across different schools but for instance I heard of a school where a new head teacher came in and said ' anyone heard swearing in class or at a teacher will get excluded' the head teacher had to exclude (not permanently) 52 children in first week (council were not happy) but then there was no swearing in the school after that time. Behaviour improved throughout the school. Is the problem at the grass roots of behaviour management do you think? Do you feel supported through the behaviour policy at school? Other schools I have taught in have had massive problems with misbehaviour throughout the school and consequently had to permanently exclude many students. One school had a three point warning system before any sanctions happened, students consistently pushed to the third warning before adjusting their behaviour, this meant that there were multiple students being disruptive in each lesson so for any one student to stand out they had to push harder.

    Lalex123 - I agree there is also a problem with students being excluded to avoid them adversely affecting the schools results and this is something I can't believe is allowed to go on, it's an appalling abuse of the system.
  13. gstreeks

    gstreeks New commenter

    I like this! Brilliant plan!
    install likes this.
  14. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Usually no - but occasionally you have to.

    We had a really dangerous kid who was a genuine threat to everyone in the school.

    In the end he started a fire in an area where there were lots of kids doing a sporting activity and we got rid of him for good.
    Shedman likes this.
  15. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Up till last year a 6th form college in Cambridge famous for it's amazing results openly told students that they would have to leave as they would bring down the college pass rate. This was based on exams before Christmas. No exceptions were made. Now that is illegal they now slightly change the wording to something about the college not being the best environment for learners with special needs. These are students achieving Cs in Christmas A level exams. It still happens.
  16. Ezioclone

    Ezioclone New commenter

    I think the OP asks a good, fair question, that is rarely properly discussed.

    I think there is at least one credible idea that schools prematurely dismiss or ignore.

    A large amount of these students' misbehaviour occurs because of some combination of:
    - they actively want to avoid the effort of academic 'learning', or dislike being 'told what to do'.
    - they get greater 'attention' (from their peers and/or staff) by misbehaving than by behaving well.
    - some have genuine behavioural/mental issues (e.g. ADHD) that means they literally can't conform to the expectations of a normal classroom.

    An 'answer', I believe, is to provide a separate 'independent learning environment' for these students. Students pursue mainly ICT-based learning, and work in isolation (independently, no group-work). The big difference between this and existing 'isolation' is that this wouldn't be a punishment, or short-term, but a fully recognised, long-term 'alternative provision'. If /when the students work well here, they *might* be re-integrated into normal lessons - but there's no great requirement or pressure to do so. These sessions might be for almost all lessons (apart from P.E.?); or they might only apply to the academic subjects in which the students often mis-behave.
    It *would* be an 'inferior' education for most students; but it would be *better* than 'normal lessons' for those that 'can't handle' or 'get frustrated by' normal classroom learning.

    I would want this alternative provision to be properly supervised, so that students would get (weekly?) access to specific class teachers if they wished.
    Yes, this would take quite a bit of organising and resourcing.
    But compare that to the enormous amount of resourcing 'pastoral' care currently consumes (90% of which is behavioural support). And the potentially greatly improved outcomes for all students in the school (mainstream students, whose lessons would be less disrupted; and the 'disruptive' students who would 'have good learning support available', but not be 'forced' to progress at a particular rate.

    SLT currently dismiss this sort of solution because they (wrongly, IMO) believe that 'giving all students equal access to a good education' means providing the SAME type of education to all students, rather than accepting what they tell all teachers to do, which is to DIFFERENTIATE for each students' needs.

    OFSTED might (quite rightly) ask some questions about whether these students are getting a sufficiently good education. This would involve some pastoral work to 'motivate' each student as well as possible; high-quality ICT-based learning (which is easily/cheaply available nowadays); the offer of weekly(?) teacher support (10 mins? - as they might typically individually get in a class.

    We really shouldn't attempt to heavily 'restrict' those who may even choose this form of learning. If we genuinely can't make normal classroom learning more fulfilling and better for most students, then we'll have learnt something else too.

    MMT [worked in many large Secondary schools]
    angelahorn, install and JohnJCazorla like this.
  17. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Absolutely agree that your idea is better but it falls down for 2 reasons.
    1. It's an incentive to misbehave in my boring Maths lessons if you get super-duper IT provision as the alternative.
    2. It costs a lot and the pastoral system would still need to up and running for the 'normal' kids anyway, even if vastly scaled down.
    3. (I teach Maths, I don't do it)
      Why bother catering for ALL if you can get rid of the few square pegs?
    BetterNow likes this.
  18. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    Sometimes permanent exclusion does benefit a student. I can think of several over the years that we've accepted into our school. On one occasion the student did brilliantly well and some of the others have at least conformed as much as they needed to in order to finish their education and get some qualifications.

    Obviously it doesn't work for all - but in those other cases any alternative options would cost money which schools don't have and the government isn't prepared to spend.
    JohnJCazorla and Shedman like this.
  19. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    I've worked in a PRU and I've taught in a young offenders institute. No matter what we offer these kids they will throw it back in your face.

    Work in these places long enough and you soon lose patience with them and come to a far less liberal view of these little darlings. Give them a medical label, give them social excuses but they still make the choice to behave poorly.

    I don't care where they go but they should not be in mainstream schools stopping good kids from learning and causing teachers excessive stress.

    If some hoodie hugger wants to understand them an support them, fine, let them. It won't make a jot of difference.
    Alice K, BetterNow and Shedman like this.
  20. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Hello @Oldfashioned ,

    Did you try teaching these lads to unicycle?

    You get enormous respect and improved behaviour if you do.

    When I banned crime years ago I taught the local hooligans to unicycle as an alternative. Crime stopped overnight and over a couple of years we ended up with the world's most talented hooligans. They have gone on to become family men with jobs such as builders, mechanics and landscape gardeners.

    I would even get young criminals from out of the area knock on my door to learn They would tell me they had heard about my unicycle lessons and wanted a go. Some of them said they had ASBO's which banned them from entering my locality. Such was the appeal of my unicycle lessons they could have ended up in jail for attending them.

    angelahorn likes this.

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