Anomalies in School policies

teacher.gif Parents are only allowed to take their children out of school for a maximum of 10 days in each year (five if you are in West Berks) as anything more than that would damage their education … and I think I’ve heard it inferred that they would be unable to catch up, were more time missed!
A pupil can be given fixed term exclusions for up to FORTY FIVE days in any one year!
I’m wondering if there may be a tension or contradiction there?

5 Replies to “Anomalies in School policies”

  1. There certainly isn’t a contradiction. If you have a read of http://www.ace-ed.org.uk/advice/booklets/FixedExclusion.html, this clarifies the fundamental difference. In the case of a fixed term exclusion, then the expectation is that the excluded pupil will be doing schoolwork at home, and the school should be setting and marking work during the period. Indeed the above page further states that the LEA should ‘make every effort to provide full-time education when pupils are excluded for more than 15 days’.
    Whilst I have known of parents who have asked for work to be set for their kids if they take them out of school for a holiday for example, generally I don’t think that would happen, hence the concern about missed days.

  2. It’s a fair point Richard … and I like the blog keeping me accountable (and kicked up the backside if I’m wrong)
    The post was triggered by encountering the stories of young people that have been excluded without the school fully understanding the circumstances of the pupil. Recently I’ve encountered the stories of young carers or kids who are being chronically bullied being on fixed term exclsuions BUT never making it back into education. The post was a bit of an emotional reaction to that, pointing out (using the holidays example) that it’s difficult to come back, fit in and to catch up after exclusion.
    It’s also true that there are so many kids who have fallen off the stats/system. For some young people school exclusion is the start of a slope into social-exclusion.
    A youthworker I was chatting to recently was working with girl (aged 13) who was the carer for her mum and hence her young brothers. The school put her on a fixed term exclusion because of poor attendance, the result is that she no longer goes to school.
    For most young people, school works. But for some very vulnerable young people the system can work against them.

  3. Parents are under no legal obligation to see their children attend school, they are obligated to ensure they are educated. There is a fundamental difference. Whilst no-one wants to see kids out of school a week early so teh family can get a cheap holiday, to make rules covering anything else is simply absurd. I’ve worked at a school where we sent a warnign letter home about how a trip to New York would damage a child’s education. As if there was any contest between listening to me drone on for another hour or going to the Museum of Modern Art.

  4. I have to say that what I quoted was what is *supposed* to happen, and certainly am aware of situations where it doesn’t happen.
    Reading the examples you mentioned I’d actually say that, certainly in the case of the second example, the schools involved are misusing exclusion. For example the page I linked to previously explicitly states that exclusion should not be used as a punishment for lateness or truancy.
    I certainly agree with your comments about the system working against some pupils, I can think of at least two examples of young people I know who have had problems in their respective schools. The thing is with both of them is that they’ve had parents who have the resources to take their children out of the state system, and put them into private schools where they have done significantly better. This of course highlights the big problem is that for many parents and children it is not an option to pay for private education, and the young people are left effectively on the scrapheap, and you end up with young people such as those you mentioned, who bounce from school to school, or don’t attend at all.
    I’d actually say that the problem is not so much with exclusions per se, but that the exclusion issue is more a symptom of larger issues with the way our state education system operates. Take for example the recent Panorama on the City Academies, particularly the ones bankrolled by Peter Vardy – it was very clearly alleged by parents there, that the way the school was boosting it’s exam grades was by systematically excluding all of the problem pupils. The primary yardstick of a successful school is being at the top of the league tables, so in the case of the Vardy schools, and many others, the accusation is that they are excluding anybody they don’t think will make the grade.

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