Temporary exclusions are a major problem in schools, particularly for children in care, and should be banned, Lord Andrew Adonis has told MPs
Speaking to the Education Select committee during a session on children’s homes, Lord Adonis described temporary exclusions “one of the biggest problems” faced by children in care in the education system.
‘We should abolish temporary exclusions’
He said that while there may be a case for permanent exclusions in some instances, the time for temporary exclusions has “well and truly past”.
Lord Adonis said: “Sometimes permanent exclusions can’t be avoided, for instance in examples of violence against teachers.
“Just as a generation ago we abolished corporal punishment in schools, I think we should abolish temporary exclusions in schools for a reason of overriding national policy, which will then oblige schools quite properly in line with accepted modern standards of behaviour management to find alternatives which are in fact better, not only for the students, but ultimately for the schools and for society.”
He argued that because of the emotional difficulties felt by many children in care, a temporary exclusion method for low-level behavioural issues is counterproductive.
‘A fundamental misconception’
Lord Adonis said: “They are a fundamental misconception of the nature of sanctions and their relationship with the education system.
“Temporary exclusions escalate and they become longer temporary exclusions and almost all permanent exclusions come from them.”
Government data also shows that children from some ethnic minority groups are disproportionately impacted by temporary exclusions.
Lord Adonis, the former government minister and Labour peer, spent much of his childhood in the care system and gave evidence to the committee based on his personal experience as well as his policy work since entering politics.
He was appearing at the Education Select committee alongside Anne Longfield, the former Children’s commissioner for England and Josh MacAlister, who is currently leading an independent review into the children’s care system.