The new Labour government arrived and with that came

The
permanent exclusion of students from schools is increasingly under scrutiny in the
United Kingdom, significantly the profiles of students likely to be excluded
(DCSF 2009; Gazeley et al. 2013). In 1997 the new Labour government arrived and
with that came new national targets in education to reduce exclusion rates from
schools over a three year period. The targets were part of a bigger plan to
reduce social exclusion in the UK, however after the three years the published
data was viewed an extra pressure on already hard-pressed schools and was not
renewed. This was the beginning of the drive towards inclusion rather than
exclusion in our schools.

Exclusion
must always be a ‘last resort’ other strategies must be implemented before exclusion
is even considered (DCSF 2008) but the complexity of some situations means the best
scenario for the child is not always being considered before exclusion. The pressure
on schools to perform and hit targets alongside falling teacher numbers and a concerning
rise in child poverty all add to the rise of disruptive behaviour in the classroom.
School interventions are becoming much more common place to ensure an inclusive
education is available, particularly in secondary schools. The ‘every child
matters’ campaign (DfES, 2004) placed emphasis on the responsibility of every
school and local authority to ensure that every child had access to an
education which makes it possible for them to achieve a positive outcome.

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“Children
are entitled to receive, with a suitable peer group, a broad, balanced and relevant
curriculum, in the least restrictive environment. Wherever possible, this
should be in a mainstream school, recognising that appropriate support, advice
and resources may be necessary to achieve this”

(House of Commons Education and Skills Committee, 2006, p.392).

 

The
educational intervention examined in this study provides an inclusive
environment within the school premises for students who would otherwise have
been excluded. Various other intervention strategies have already been tried
with the four students with very little success. The correlation between the
chosen students is that they have all struggled to cope in a busy mainstream
school environment. The impact that this inclusion has on other members of the
school community was examined, and any strategies in place to ensure that the
experience was as positive as possible for all were also considered.

The alternative provision was set up only four months ago with the
objective of providing an inclusive education within the framework mainstream school.
The hope was that by implementing this intervention and removing the four
students from the classroom, their behaviour would improve and this would have
a positive impact on not only their own learning but on that of their class. The
four students, who were beginning their first term in year 8, had all been
chosen to participate in the new intervention as they had all struggled in the
classroom for different reasons. This type of intervention has proved successful
at another local school where it has been implemented for two years. The member
of staff charged with leading this project spent two days observing the successful
project and received advice and guidance on how to set it up at her home school.

The allocated staff for the project means that the maximum number of
students to begin with would be four and this would be evaluated weekly. Each
student helped to create their own personal objectives on a medium-term plan
and a short-term plan, meanwhile the long-term plan for all students was set as
reintegration into main stream school. The sample is very small, but care was
taken to ensure the results were valid, so some conclusions could be drawn.