AHT2: 'Exclusions: By Throwing Our Kids Out Of School Are We Throwing Them Into Prison?' Summary
Updated: Jul 26
This past Sunday, I held the 2nd #ActionHeroTeacher twitterchat and boy, this one was a doozy!
This has been the biggest #ActionHeroTeacher chat to date! 🥂💃🏾🎉🎖
(Well I've only done 2... Lol!)
The stats show almost 100 of us took part & the #ActionHeroTeacher tweets were seen... wait for it... 39,000 TIMES!
So I want to say a huge thank you to every single person that took part because it's YOU that makes the chats what they are!
I am incredibly humbled and honoured that you guys join me on these Sundays - I will never take that for granted!
As always I will try to summarise the best answers (this was SOOOO hard)! If you are on Twitter, track these people down & follow them! They are brimming with knowledge!
Let's get down to it...
Q1. “Persistent disruptive behaviour remains the most common reason for pupils being expelled, accounting for a third of permanent exclusions” - The Independent
Do teachers get the right level of training to deal with disruptive behaviour? If not, what is needed?
This question sparked a lot of debate!
Firstly, I totally agree with Liam that robust and actionable school policies should take the pressure off individual teachers to manage behaviour and there have many successful schools that have done this in the UK.
But with 'poor student behaviour' being one of the main reasons why so many teachers are leaving the profession, it's clear that some teachers are not coping well with it.
Add this with exclusions for persistent bad behaviour and presto, Houston we've gotta problem.
As Ms Saunders said, I believe more training will be needed around trauma, especially as the COVID19 pandemic and global lockdowns have been mentally & emotionally taxing for the best of us & our students will bear the brunt of it.
Like HausofAlliD said, I believe that many teacher training institutions place most of the emphasis on 'teaching the subject.' But I believe we have to change our model to focus more on wellbeing and trying to better understand the kids that we teach.
Which leads nicely into the next question...
Q2. According to an Institute for Public Policy Research study lead by Kiran Gill, excluded children are ‘7 times more likely to have Special Educational Needs and 10 times more likely to have Social Emotional & Mental Health needs’
Should schools radically change their operating model to support our most vulnerable students? If so, what changes are needed?
I love all these answers. Practical, doable and stated by the brightest minds on #EduTwitter - Can someone get Gavin Williamson on the blower? I think he might want to hear these ideas...
Q3. According to HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Over half the UK’s male youth offenders are from BAME backgrounds at 51%.
Also, Black & Gypsy Roma Traveller children are 4 times more likely to be excluded from school.
Why is this happening to these groups and how can it be fixed?
Honestly, those statistics are absolutely heartbreaking... 😢
As many pointed out there are so many issues at the heart of why this continues to happen and we have to face the bitter truth.
We have an issue with racism and classism in the UK that sees BAME & other minorities unfairly treated in every area of society.
What warms my heart is that there are people like Reah Banton and Nic Bailey who are researching how these things can be improved.
But we have to recognise that we have a problem.
Otherwise, we will never be able to fix it.
Q4. "We need to talk about it and acknowledge that social mobility is still a problem." @mayuri_pandya
Do our expelled students turn to crime because of the lack of positive opportunities? Do we have a social mobility problem in the UK?
Before you read the responses, I have to hold my hands up and admit that I made a mistake.
When I reflect on the wording of the question, I implied that ALL excluded kids become criminals. That was not my intention & for that, I apologise. I could have done a better job.
People rightly pointed it out in the responses and I wave the white flag. You live and learn!
Plus it's very difficult to articulate yourself in 280 characters! 😂
But as usual, the #ActionHeroTeacher participants never disappointed...
This was another hot pepper question!
Despite my faux pas, many rightly stated that exclusion is not the main cause, but a negative factor in how a student's life chances pan out.
This issue is complex, but as a former NEETs coordinator, I can testify that if a student is excluded from school, it takes a hella of a lot of time, energy and relationship building to get them to believe that they can get a good education and a good life.
If students feel 'locked out' of education and cannot see any legal way to support themselves or their dreams, they will find other means to do it in and some won't be pleasant.
We as teachers are on the frontline of these issues and we have the power to encourage our students to turn away from a life of darkness and despair and unto a life of challenge and hope.
Even though our society is grossly unfair sometimes, let us never forget that we make a difference.
Every. Single. Day.
Q5. Have you ever taught, worked with or know someone that has been excluded?
What was the impact on their life?
How did you as an educator/mentor/friend help this person?
This was such a heartwarming way to end the chat.
To hear the stories of my colleagues who have despite the odds have made the difference to the lives of the students we serve, is what keeps me and hopefully you, inspired to continue to make a difference!
What it also shows us is that there are great teachers out there who have the emotional intelligence and grit to help our children in the post-COVID19 & post George Floyd era we are in. Find these guys and follow them!
Tracy's story, in particular, struck a chord because, despite her negative school experience, she was creative and resourceful enough to turn it into a positive. Her students are incredibly lucky to have her!
Tracy runs an incredible talk called "Drama Matters" which is a regular meetup of teachers who look at how the Arts enrich the lives of school students throughout the UK. If you are on Twitter, be sure to follow the @DramaMatters1 handle to get all the deets!
Phew! That was a great twitterchat & there's so much more that I could have added to this blog but time wouldn't let me.
If you are on Twitter, why not get involved when the #ActionHeroTeacher chat happens? It's super easy!
Subscribe to my blog today and you will be alerted the moment I announce it! Pinky promise. It will take you less than 15 seconds. C'mon, Get join in the fun!
Karl from actionheroeteacher.com