Parody on a theme of Education
Nice to see that Ed Balls hasn’t stopped releasing bloody pointless initiatives. Balls has declared that from now on, all schools that exclude a child will be forced to receive an excluded child on a “one out, one in” principle. What a way to totally neuter the point of excluding someone.
Exclusion is used in a bundle of different circumstances, each requiring a different answer. In some cases, simply moving to another school is acceptable. For example if a kid develops a dangerous cycle of violence with other children, and is constantly fighting with one particular group, then a change of school might help solve the problem.
Alternatively, say a child is constantly acting up because he or she doesn’t understand the work they’re being asked to do, or because they’re lazy. If help from parents isn’t forthcoming and differentiation attempts run their course, then a transfer to a school where expectations are different might be an option.
A lot of what I’m saying is of course taboo; under the doctrine of Every Child Matters, we’re meant to be able to include all abilities and all temperaments of child in every lesson, and they’re meant to get something out of it. To ECM, the idea of each school having a different character is anathema.
Yet sometimes there is a child, perhaps having been bumped around care homes, perhaps with nothing wrong with them whatsoever, that simply refuses to be co-operative. Or perhaps they get involved in things like drug dealing, things you don’t want circulating in the playground.
In those circumstances, there should be purpose built schools to which these kids can be transferred. The concentration should be on training and skills there rather than on national curriculum levels and academic subjects. The aim should be to ready the kids for employment so they don’t sink into crime.
The sort of schools I envision will not have more than a few hundred pupils each, very small class sizes and rigorous sports and activity programmes. They would be for the worst of the worst pupils, and would bring together the best of the best teachers.
These kids could be kept out of the mainstream, something that I think would be to the benefit of all. Simply moving them around schools, the current system of exclusion, will not do anything. Asking the kids to sign behaviour pledges and then imposing criminal sanctions upon them should the pledge be violated is not the answer either.
Time for the government to wake up.