With extreme cases of student behaviour, refusing to consider exclusion isn’t an option

Some children have the power to make teachers’ lives miserable. Over the years I’ve taught a small number of students I’ve come to dread seeing. One former teacher and author writes in Teachwire

Some years ago, I taught – or tried to teach – a student exactly like this. At every turn he was rude, confrontational and aggressive both to me and the other learners in the class, many of whom were afraid of him.

One Monday morning’s staff briefing began with the announcement that he had been permanently excluded. This was met with cheers. I distinctly remember the feeling of relief that hostilities were over, combined with shame at what we were celebrating.

Maybe you feel that some children have no choice but to misbehave and that schools should seek to nurture and accommodate their unmet needs. Some years ago, I taught a boy, let’s call him Ben, with a diagnosis of ADHD.

He behaved perfectly in my lessons but was hell on wheels for various other teachers. After one particularly horrific low I asked him to explain his actions. It wasn’t his fault, he said, it was his ADHD which was to blame. “But how come,” I asked him, “you don’t have ADHD in my lessons?” Ben said, “That’s ’cos you’re alright sir.”

Ben was exercising a choice. He chose when and where to behave and pay attention. He had learned that this was acceptable, but eventually he was permanently excluded after committing one atrocity too many. Could this have been avoided? Possibly. Had the school had higher expectations of his behaviour, he might have learned to make better choices.

It’s no doubt true that some schools could do more to accommodate students’ needs, but mainstream schools are unable to contain extremes of behaviour. Violence and aggression are just too dangerous to be tolerated.

Over the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to visit some incredibly well-run Alternative Provision schools and I’m in awe at the job they do.

What all this boils down to is this: one size does not fit all. Mainstream schools can only really be effective at providing an academic education to a majority of students if there is adequate funding for excellent Alternative Provision for those unable to fit in

Read the full article With extreme cases of student behaviour, refusing to consider exclusion isn’t an option

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. Jane Eades

    It is true that some students do need to be excluded in order to get them places in units which answer their needs better than mainstream education. However, the external pressures on schools (league tables, high stakes Ofsted….) are encouraging many schools to exclude in order to improve exam results. It is also the case that, with so many experienced teachers leaving the profession in disgust, many inexperienced, possibly unqualified, teachers are struggling. With the huge number of “disappeared” children who aren’t registered in any education establishment nor as being home tutored we are heading for major problems.

    In my area, it is these off rolled or lost children who will be drawn into gangs and drug dealing.

  2. This is an interesting article on exclusion. It is true that most schools struggle to contain extreme behaviour, but there are models which can help. Why not swap isolation for an Engine Room instead. Address the root cause of the issue and help to prepare pupils for the classroom #learningbehaviours #selfregulation #cognitivehealth @StrongerBrains

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