Open Letter Regarding Exclusions
The issue of exclusions in schools is important and rightly up for discussion, but some recent coverage has been misinformed, misguided and unhelpful to the causes of safety and standards in schools.
It is essential that we do not conflate fixed-term exclusions with permanent ones, or legal (formal) exclusions with illegal practices like off-rolling or pressuring children into home education. Doing this gives a false picture, and makes it harder to understand what is actually going on in schools.
The law and guidance on exclusions is clear, robust, and ensures a fair process for all concerned. Excluding a child from school is a last resort, and done with the interests of the pupil concerned, and others, at heart. To ignore poor behaviour in order to artificially reduce the number of exclusions would be illogical and unfair, and ultimately teachers and vulnerable pupils would suffer the most.
We support in the strongest possible terms the right of Heads to exclude pupils within the law when they deem it is necessary, and call on the government and others to reiterate their backing for this too.
Where there is clear evidence of illegality we wholeheartedly condemn it, and support work to better understand the scale of any such practices. However, we call on everyone involved to approach investigation with care, clarity, and accuracy.
Our children and teachers deserve to be in safe, inclusive schools. Sensationalism over the sensitive issue of exclusions does nothing to assist with this; if anything it makes it harder to achieve.
Mark Lehain, Director, Parents and Teachers for Excellence
Dame Rachel de Souza, CEO, Inspiration Trust
Sir Nick Weller, CEO, Dixons Academy Trust
Tom Bennett, Behaviour Adviser
Munira Mirza, Former Deputy Mayor of London for Education and Culture
Sir Roger Scruton
Leora Cruddas, CEO, FASNA
Ian Bauckham CBE
Julia Kedwards OBE, CEO, Northampton Primary Academy Trust
Michaela Khatib, Head, Cobham Free School
Mark Enser, Teacher
Robert Peal, Assistant Headteacher, West London Free School
Claire Heald, Director of School Improvement, Inspiration Trust
Tony Sewell CBE
Janet Lehain, Teacher, Bedford Free School
Emily Reynard, Head of School, MEA Central
Matt Hood, Chief Education Officer, Institute for Teaching and Ambition School Leadership
Jane Herron, Head of School, Bedford Free School
Helena Brothwell, Principal, Queen Elizabeth’s Academy
Cassandra Young, Head of School, Brenzett CE Primary School
Luke Sparkes, Executive Principal, Dixons Academies
Samantha Baxter, Principal, Elstow School
Tom Rees, Education Director, Northampton Primary Academy Trust
Alex Wade, Chairman of Governors, Fulham Boys School
Mark Rose, PTE Advisory Council Member
Andrew Old, Teacher and Blogger
John Blake, PTE Advisory Council Member
Adam Boxer, Teacher
Stuart Lock, Executive Principal, Advantage Schools
Mark Adams, Senior Vice Principal, Magna Academy, Poole
Jon Hutchinson, Teacher
James Theobald, Teacher
Martyn Oliver, CEO, Outwood Grange Academies Trust