I will shock any regular readers I have here – I actually agree with something the government’s done!
They are planning on stopping kids being able to go back to a school (against the head’s wishes) from which they are excluded : http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00208163/newrulesrestoreheadteacherspower
I should add here that my current school does not find itself needing to exclude pupils – we are fortunate in not experiencing that sort of behaviour – but I have worked previously in schools that need this sanction, and have a number of friends who still do.
The press reports on exclusions usually feature the child who has been excluded, and their parents, in a very sympathetic light, and go on about the effect it’s had on their education. You’d think from some of them that schools excluded kids lightly. Personally, I’ve never heard of a school who takes such drastic action lightly – usually all sorts of things are put in place before such a final move. And whilst it is undoubtedly a shame that the excluded child’s education is affected – it’s not nearly so much of a shame as the fact that the unacceptable behaviour of that child was affecting the education of all the other kids in the class. If anyone should suffer the consequences of bad behaviour, it’s the child who is behaving badly, not their peer group.
I know people always say that it’s up to the teacher to control the class and stop the behaviour affecting the others. And yes, to a certain extent, that is so. But some kids who are so out of control that no-one can do anything – for example, a friend of mine at quite a decent school saw a kid burst into the staffroom, waving a knife, saying “Where’s that b*****d ______”. Another friend encountered a child who had to be physically restrained from throwing chairs at all the other kids and out the window. Then you come across the 11 year old boy who couldn’t be near a girl without trying to sexually assault her.
I’m sure all those kids had all sorts of problems in their own lives. But their behaviour made them a massive menace to those around them. Yes, fund alternative provision for these kids – and in my book, any teacher who is prepared to work with them should be paid a fortune for it! But schools must be able to exclude kids, to ensure the other kids don’t suffer and can get a decent education.