Expelling pupils is easy - changing them is the hard part

Share

As a way of improving discipline and average examination results, expelling badly behaved children is simple and effective. It should be obvious, though, that it does not solve a problem; it merely moves it somewhere else.

As a way of improving discipline and average examination results, expelling badly behaved children is simple and effective. It should be obvious, though, that it does not solve a problem; it merely moves it somewhere else.

It is correct, then, that a right of appeal should be available against decisions by schools that seem to be made for reasons of convenience, caprice or league-table scores. But the case of the two boys who had their expulsion from a school in Epsom overturned by an appeals panel makes it clear that this should not be the end of the matter.

At present no satisfactory mechanism exists for appealing against an appeals-panel decision. The Secretary of State rightly does not have the power to decide individual cases, even if, in this case, Estelle Morris overstepped her authority to ensure the right outcome. The school could have sought judicial review of the panel's decision in the courts, but that would have been expensive, and the local council would not stump up the bill.

In this case, where none of their teachers and few of their fellow pupils wanted them at the school, a super- appeals panel should have been available to re-reverse the decision.

However, that is not the important issue. What matters is what happens to pupils who are expelled.

Another example of Conservative convergence with Labour this week is relevant. Iain Duncan Smith's new policy document says excluded pupils need "specialist help, outside their usual classrooms" if they are to avoid joining "the conveyor belt to crime".

This is another welcome sign that the party is shifting its attention on crime from punishment to prevention. It is also what the Government is already doing: it has increased spending substantially on pupil referral units, some of which are models of how to combine education with programmes to change behaviour.

Much more needs to be done. Too many pupils are expelled from one school only to be dumped in another that has spare places because no one else wants to go there.

Changing patterns of destructive behaviour at this early stage is hard work and expensive, but the return on the investment makes it well worth it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, MSSQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

English Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - So...

French Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: French Teacher ? Sou...

Geography Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Geography Teacher ? ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Photo issued by Flinders University of an artist's impression of a Microbrachius dicki mating scene  

One look at us Scots is enough to show how it was our fishy ancestors who invented sex

Donald MacInnes
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp  

Oscar Pistorius sentence: Judge Masipa might have shown mercy, but she has delivered perfect justice

Chris Maume
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album