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Reducing the number of exclusions within any school always serves as a key priority, with many different schools employing a wide ranging form of techniques to greater or lesser success.

Here we will be looking at 5 of the simplest strategies that serve as essential elements to the reduction of any school’s exclusion rates. 

1. Behavioural work for developing responsibility

A key building block for the reduction of exclusion rates is ensuring that pupils take responsibility for their own behaviour and actions.

The most successful projects have a focus upon the provision of behavioural management, providing pupils with techniques to help them monitor their behaviour and cope with difficult situations.

Encouraging pupils to instate targets for themselves, as well as possibly introducing a peer to peer mentoring programme for older to younger pupils also serve as useful techniques in establishing pupil responsibility.

3. Prevention strategies

A recent report by Barnado’s established six key elements that were essential to successful prevention strategies:

  • The intervention of strategies before problems become entrenched
  • Working with parents and families
  • Small group work within learning environments
  • An openness to vocational options where appropriate
  • The adoption of a youth work approach
  • A persistence and belief in both exclusion focused projects as well as pupils

4. Alternative provision

Alternative provision has seen success within a number of projects throughout the UK. Where full-time in-school education may not be a possibility, using an alternative provision to re-engage pupils with their learning can be useful in the pursuit to reduce exclusions.

Ensuring your alternative provision is well suited in terms of safeguarding and in monitoring progress is vital and can provide both short and long-term assistance to those pupils who may need support off-site. 

5. A shared vision

Having a shared vision of strategies between pupils, staff, parents and management is essential to the success of an exclusion project.

Projects that were disjointed, with only certain departments involved within the project, have frequently been found in studies to be considered by other staff as being associated with Special Educational Needs, rather than a universal project to address the overall rates of exclusions.

Research has consistently shown that projects that were most effective in reducing exclusions were the ones that involved full commitment of school staff and management; incorporated the entire school (including parents) and that instated the responsibility of each pupil’s behaviour on themselves alone.

The points above and techniques such as counselling, anger management and peer support are additionally shown to be far less effective without all of these basic elements.