Well, somehow in adding the video, I managed to delete the essay I’d typed! (I might know my stuff around SEN, schools and systems…but websites are a whole other beast!)
In 23 years of teaching, I never felt the need to permanently exclude a student. Don’t get me wrong, there have been occasions where everyone needs a break and a lesson needs to be clearly understood, but a permanent exclusion doesn’t achieve that. There are alternatives
Children who are looked-after or SEN have protected characteristics and reasonable adjustments have to be demonstrated. For example a student with Tourette’s cannot be excluded for their tics (even the extreme vocal swearing which occurs in some cases). This would be in direct contravention of their rights. However, they are not exempt from exclusion. A student with dyslexia who decides to have a fight with their classmate would rightly be excluded for the offence.
What a school has to do is ensure that a child’s needs are being met and that policies are flexible enough to accommodate their needs.
How? Well, if you’re reading this I can assume that your child has had an exclusion or been warned about the risk. First step is to make sure the SENCO in the school is aware of their needs and most importantly that they have shared the information with all the staff in the school. Does your child have a pupil passport, profile, plan (or some other name)? If so, make sure it is updated to give staff the advice they need around dealing with your child. It might be extra take-up time to follow an instruction, giving a simple A or B choice, giving a clear/visual warning, or allowing them 5-minutes to ‘calm down’. Teachers are great but they do have their brains switched on to many things at once…not least trying to remember the content of the lesson they’re delivering. Asking them to remember the nuances of every individual child, without some kind of prompt, is a little unreasonable! My other recommendation is to sit down with the school and a copy of the behaviour policy. Between all of you (child included) highlight the policy with what needs adjusting to be reasonable. It could be that you still agree some offences need an exclusion, but instead of being 3 days, your child receives 1 or 2 days…or maybe for some offences they get an extra chance or additional warnings before it is escalated.
I’ll explore some real examples in another post.