Excluded pupils should be met at school gates, campaigners say

The Guardian is reporting that the government is being urged to hold headteachers to a higher duty of care when excluding children from school to ensure they are met by a parent or carer.

Current school exclusion guidance states that heads must take account of their legal duty when sending an excluded pupil home, but campaigners say in practice heads often simply inform parents and ensure the child leaves the premises.

According to the School Exclusion Project (SEP), which provides free legal representation to parents appealing against their child’s permanent exclusion from school, this puts already vulnerable children at further risk. It is calling for a change to the guidance to ensure that vulnerable children are not sent home without adequate supervision.

The issue will be raised in the House of Lords on Tuesday by Lord Lupton. According to the notice of upcoming Lords business, the Conservative peer will ask the government to consider “introducing a higher duty of care on headteachers when excluding children aged under 16 from their schools to ensure that such children are in practice met by a parent, guardian or approved carer”.

Mark Greaves, the SEP’s chief director, welcomed Lupton’s interest. “In our experience, in practice, most headteachers simply notify the parents – as they are legally required to do – and ensure that the child does not remain on site,” Greaves said.

“However, it is our view that it is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the guidance to place a higher duty on headteachers when it is necessary for the protection of vulnerable children and a proportionate way of dealing with the issue…”

More at: Excluded pupils should be met at school gates, campaigners say

 

Is the School Exclusion Project raising a legitimate concern here over the potential risk to students who are sent away from school but without, potentially, a parent or carer knowing in time to be able to ensure their wellbeing?

Under the approach they are suggesting, how would you see that working in practice and what kind of practical problems might ensue?

Please give us your feedback to the points raised in the comments or via Twitter…

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Schools don’t exclude lightly (Ofsted can hammer them for it), considering all sorts of factors. This a very one-sided view

  2. andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Still sensible to expect a parent/carer to pick up the child from school. Avoids any potential difficulties with children getting home (especially in rural areas) or being placed in vulnerable situation.  Also ensures parents know about the exclusion – short, fixed term exclusions could be hidden from parents in the short term if letter sent home with the child.

  3. irvingphil

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove “in our experience” isn’t exactly a rousing vouch for reliability. SEP is a terrible idea.

  4. CSJRobertson

    SchoolsImprove
    I have never come across this in primary. As a parent of two teenage boys I would be appalled if this was happening there.

  5. fionawallace20

    SchoolsImprove SteveHowell30 Exclusion should operate from end of school day. Head should speak direct to parents

Let us know what you think...