Discussions about our education system all too often focus on the largest, most visible components of that system: the attainment of young people in mainstream schools. While debates about educational equity are at the forefront of current policy discourse, with the Pupil Premium explicitly targeting the gap between the attainment of young people receiving Free School Meals (FSM) and their peers, these discussions, too, are framed in terms of the relative performance of young people in mainstream schools. However, more than 20,000 pupils each year receive their education outside the mainstream system, through some form of ‘alternative provision’. Seldom do we turn our attention to these young people who, in Pat Thomson’s words, are “eased out, pushed out and kicked out of school.” Continue reading Renewing the focus on ‘pushed out’ learners
It is not new news that every year a significant number of young people are eased out, pushed out and kicked out of school. Along the way to permanent exclusion, and the likelihood of becoming a ‘NEET’ statistic, these young people may well have yelled out, acted out, and have walked out of the school gates, vowing never to return. The school system attributes their behaviour variously to: faulty neurological functioning; impaired cognitive/emotional capacity; inadequate parenting; feral peers and/or disconnected and depressed communities. Expert knowledges and specialist staff are brought to bear on these young people in order to ‘support’ them to learn to regulate themselves within the school. Continue reading Ensuring and assuring an educational entitlement for the ‘hard to reach and teach’.