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School Exclusions- Outwood Academy

September 2, 2018 11:18 AM
By Julia Cherrett

Councillor Julia Cherrett writes:

It was nice to be quoted in such an esteemed newspaper as The Guardian (Aug 31st) on the subject of school exclusions. For those who haven't seen the article you can find it at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/aug/31/english-school-outwood-academy-fixed-term-exclusions-pupils

As the article says, I fully support any school in raising standards and aspirations among its pupils and teaching respect for others but the quote was only part of my conversation with the journalist. I also raised the issue of the "consequences boxes" saying:

"I worry about the mental health impact of pupils suffering "consequences" which, I am led to understand involves the pupil being "punished" by being made to spend the school day inside a "black box" that is no more than elbow width wide and leads to further punishment if they lean forward and support their head in their hands. It makes me think of shutting the naughty child in the darkness of the under stairs cupboard, a practise that would probably lead to a referral to child social services if carried out in the home. A parent tells me that her request to view these "consequences" rooms was denied.

I am also told (again anecdotally) of a child being excluded from school. Her mother could not be contacted so the child was simply ejected from the school grounds raising issues of safeguarding.

If anything, I think the main message I would want to get across is the need for reform of academies to give more local accountability."

It is always going to be difficult to get young people and parents to speak out for fear of reprisals (including exclusion) but we need to find a way to get these young people's voices heard.

I await the start of the new school term with interest!