20 July 2017
Commenting on the rise of fixed term and permanent exclusions in schools, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said;
“This is a concerning trend and the DfE must give serious and honest consideration of what is driving these rising numbers of exclusions. NUT members tell us that as the curriculum gets narrower and children’s experience of school is ever more focused on preparation for tests and exams, more students are becoming disengaged from school which in turn leads to problems with behaviour and mental health problems.
‘These are the accountability drivers which are leading to this rise in figures. They must be addressed through a serious re-examination of the assessment and accountability regime and school funding.
‘Cuts to school and local authority budgets have led to pastoral and mental health support services being scaled back or axed. Some schools have had to reduce the number of teaching assistants employed. This clearly has an impact on the help schools can give to individual pupils as and when the need arises.
‘Schools should be places where all children can thrive and enjoy their learning in a supportive, vibrant and caring environment where they are supported to achieve their best. Instead the system is creating exam factories in which increasingly children feel demoralised while cuts to funding leave some schools without adequate support to cope with serious behavioural or mental health issues.”