As the number of pupils being permanently excluded from England’s schools has risen by a third over three years, Ben, who was expelled at 13, tells his story in his own words to the BBC.
“I was excluded from class every day, I never behaved, I never listened. I walked out of my lessons and I never followed instructions. Halfway through Year 8, I was excluded from my school permanently. That was before I got my diagnoses and my tablets for ADHD.
“The way ADHD affects you is that if you were looking at the board and you heard someone chatting behind you – your attention is taken away immediately. It made it impossible for me to focus. Every time I was in my lessons – I kept on talking.”
“If the teachers wanted me to listen to what they said, they would have to take me outside, sit me down and maintain eye contact all the time. It became completely normal for me to get in trouble.”
“One of the key things for me is that I was able to get off the weed [cannabis]. It was a stressful time and that was really the only release I had. Coming here to the Limes [pupil referral unit] and getting my ADHD medication has made me realise that”
“Turning lives around, that’s the business we’re in,” says Emma Bradshaw, head of the Limes College in Sutton, Surrey. “If this stuff is done right it’s life changing. We turn lives around every year.”
Each day 35 children in England are being told to leave their school permanently, a report for charity The Difference says.
Citing official figures, it highlights a 35% rise over the past few years in the number of pupils excluded from schools.
Read more about Ben I was an idiot, says excluded boy looking back
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