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Friday 25 May 2012

Unofficial Exclusions

From Jane:

When Westminster Academy first opened some students were sent home “to await a meeting”.  No official exclusion took place.

I have now heard of a Suffolk converter unofficially excluding.

Who collates attendance figures and exclusion figures for academies.  I assume it is the DfE only and, therefore, there is almost no monitoring.  (I realise that permanent or long term exclusions have to be reported to the home authority of the student.)

18 answers – add yours below

  1. Alasdair Smith said:

    Interesting question. I think you should ask the DfE if they collect this data

    12 June 2012 at 11:06am
  2. Anonymous said:

    I am a former student at Westminster Academy. When children misbehave, rather than being formally excluded, children are told to “work from home.”

    “On paper” behaviour is seen to be improving. However, it is clearly not!

    Keep up the excellent work Jane!

    27 July 2012 at 4:20pm
  3. Chris said:

    I’m currently writing a thesis at present looking at ‘managed moves’ between secondary schools. What is abundantly clear from my interview data is that young people that do not conform to the rigid structures of mainstream schooling have little, if any advocates outside their families and, if they’re lucky, passionate members of staff within LAs.

    There is NO reason for schools to take difficult students. They have the RIGHT to simply refuse young people, sending them back to their previous school or another local secondary. They are out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind, do not appear favourably on school figures and Headteachers have every right to deny them access top education. Similar to unofficial exclusions, no record of these are recorded by the DfES. Given that these pupils are most likely to experience horrendous family circumstances, school failure, juvenile delinquency / incarceration, drug addiction and poor employment prospects, should this demographic not be looked at more closely.

    The answer is self-evident, however, they do not sit pretty within the academies movement, where schools have even further control as to who they take… So when all academies refuse to take a young person, where do they go?? This has not been answered. My hunch is that local authority academies, particularly those sharing a sponosr will build sin-bins for them and send them away when they’re not conforming. A VERY worrying state of affairs.

    2 January 2013 at 9:20pm
  4. Shelagh Limmer said:

    What strategies can governors employ if a headteacher wants to change from LEA to academy status?

    23 January 2013 at 8:28pm
  5. Jane said:

    The Governors vote against it. While it is an LEA school the Governors govern.

    14 February 2013 at 10:39am
  6. The Red Rocket said:

    At my school which is an academy (was no different before conversion), they simply remove pupils off role before they run census data for attendance etc. That way the figures look better, and nobody is any wiser. If anyone starts sniffing around, they just pop them back on again.

    6 March 2013 at 8:49pm
  7. Jane said:

    Details of any child who is taken off roll should be passed to the local authority in which the child lives. If that is not happening, the local authority needs to be informed. Apart from anything else, if a child is simply taken roll without having a school place to go to, this is an extremely serious child protection issue.

    This should be one thing that the local authority can investigate, even in an academy.

    8 March 2013 at 3:50pm
  8. The Red Rocket said:

    Sadly Jane its standard practice in many schools. You are right about it been child protection issue. Like I say, once anyone sniffs around, they put them back on, its all about removing them for census day.

    15 March 2013 at 8:29pm
  9. Veronica said:

    My son was told ‘he had to work from home’ also & was given materials to study from at home with no support. He was not ‘offically’ excluded.

    20 March 2013 at 6:25pm
  10. The Red Rocket said:

    Veronica, we call this ‘churn’ at our school. Demand a date that he will be allowed back in to school. Ask for all documentation connected with the incident(s) and ask for a copy of the schools exclusion policy along with the inclusion policy.

    24 March 2013 at 4:18pm
  11. Brian said:

    The school I work at simply asks the parents of students who have misbehaved to “stay at home” for a day or two “so we can investigate the incident” or ” so things can calm down”. It’s always put to them as a favour and to avoid an exclusion. It is then recorded as absent for “other” reasons and authorised. Therefore this does not show up as an exclusion.
    There is a school in my town which regularly gets rids of unruly students by making their lives at school very uncomfortable so they just leave through a “parental request”. The school losses 10s of students from year 7 to year 11. It is a well known secret in the town and the local authority also knows but choose to ignore it because their results are good.

    2 April 2013 at 1:12pm
  12. b said:

    I have worked 15 years in an inner city northern comprehensive in a ward with the highest level of child poverty in the UK.
    Chris wrote a few things that chimed with experiences. What concerns me, and a good few others, most at present are those most vulnerable children from very traumatic family backgrounds:
    our hunch is that the city’s academies and the LA will not provide any adequate for them. A VERY worrying state of affairs. WATCH THEM DISAPPEAR.

    11 April 2013 at 10:15am
  13. maggie coombes said:

    my son has been coded as educated off site to prevent the academy as having unauthorised absences. he has been out of school for 6 months with ill health but there is no funding to refer him for medical tuition. does anybody care,no.

    11 April 2013 at 5:53pm
  14. Michael Jurro said:

    What happens if school management are accused of racist behavior breaching the equalities act 2010.A large amount of narrative is spent on racism with students, which negates the issues that some school management have with black students.in such cases it has been reported In Southwark that schools are banning parents from entering school premises when they request complaints procedures

    26 April 2013 at 3:37pm
  15. Peter J Read said:

    I am learning of another device used by some academies to hide exclusions. Parents of students, especially in the older school years, are encouraged to withdraw them from the academy and provide them with home education as an alternative.

    6 August 2013 at 8:19pm
  16. June Taylor said:

    We have had two schools in particular taken over recently by an Academy and run by a so called Super Head. His policy is to simply exclude and remove any children that cause a problem. This is targeting the most vulnerable children including those with behavioural problems and looked after children with emotional needs as well. We are fast running out of normal schools in the area who can take these children. The governement website states that Looked after Children should be excluded as an absolute last result and only after working closely with social workers and carers – this is not happening. In my experience the Academy permanently excluded our Looked After Child with no prior consultation or warning and the one opportunity where they would have been able to discuss any issues was removed by them when they cancelled the scheduled PEP with no explanation for the reason just prior to excluding the child just before the summer holidays. The government website also states that although Academies are self governed they are required to follow the law and guidance on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as if they were maintained schools – this is not happening either. This paticular Academy has now scheduled a Governers Meeting and requested that I attend and when I enquired the reason for the meeting considering they had already permanently excluded the child and he no longer attends their school I was advised that he is still on their books until after the governers agree to the exclusion. This seems a very unorthodox way of managing a school. We are left with a child who has gone right through the summer holidays not knowing where he will finish his eduaction and still no school with a place for him. What this particular Academy is doing is despicible and is only raising standards on paper by pushing its problems onto someone else. I must add that not all Academys deploy these tactics and we do actually have a couple that are very good but unfortunately this just makes them all look bad. All Academys must adhere to the Freedom of Information Act so it should be interesting to view the figures for permanent exclusions and compare them to previous years. I am horrified at the current situation and the lack of provision for excluded children.

    7 September 2013 at 1:42am
  17. Tim Davis said:

    The priority of the current education policy is exclusive not inclusive.No school can exclude without making proper provision for the child.Some schools will always attempt to avoid or off load responsibility whilst other schools then have to pick up the responsibility.Schools who do this must be challenged both directly and by writing to OFSTED and Gove too!

    26 September 2013 at 6:30pm
  18. Richard Huie said:

    A bit behind these posts but a local school in South London has what they call an “exclusion unit”. Pupils are sent there for a number of reasons. They attend for a varying amount of time and the idea is that they are reintroduced back into the main school community. However during their removal from mainstream school they attend the “exclusion unit” at a different start time, have a different lunch time and a different finish time. Not surpringly after a short time like this they feel isolated and want to leave. The school has a low exclusion rate and failing pupils are moved on.

    30 December 2013 at 5:08pm

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