If we are not careful, history will repeat itself on exclusions

Scenes From The Battleground

Back in 1997, Labour was elected on a manifesto which promised:

Teachers will be entitled to positive support from parents to promote good attendance and sound discipline. Schools suffer from unruly and disruptive pupils. Exclusion or suspension may sometimes be necessary. We will, however, pilot new pupil referral units so that schools are protected but these pupils are not lost to education or the country.

Unfortunately, once in government, ministers listened to the education establishment, and before long attitudes to discipline moved in the opposite direction. In particular, the policy of “inclusion”, which was meant to be about providing provision in mainstream schools for disabled students and students with SEN, started to be used to justify keeping badly behaved children in school and in lessons. I have a strong recollection from my second year of teaching, back in 2003, of a senior figure from the local authority coming to my…

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