Students being expelled – a lesson taught, or something that should be avoided?

You know the situation, the same child in the class is being disruptive yet again, so what do you do? Well, you have a couple of options, you can send him out the class, but you’ve already done that twice. You would give him a detention, but detentions don’t exist in Primary schools. This child is rude, he swears, hits other children and is stopping everyone else from having a productive day, so, you expel him.

Harsh? The above scenario is all the more common, with Ofsted reporting 13,460 fixed term exclusions in 2006-07. But how can this be avoided? The root cause of the problem could range from anything from problems at home, bullying, wanting attention to name a few. Ofsted Inspectors say the whole situation can be avoided with better classroom management.

What are your views – Have you had a similar situation in your class or school? Do you think exclusions should be avoided, or do you think they are the only effective method? Do you have any tips for better classroom management? Share your thoughts with us!

11 thoughts on “Students being expelled – a lesson taught, or something that should be avoided?

  1. While expelling the child may not result in his/her changing – a child needs parental support after all to do that – at least it will send out a signal to other children that this behaviour is wrong and will have consequences.

    If all other avenues have been explored what other options are there? Society cannot go on blaming teachers without accepting that there are inadequate parents too.

  2. The gretaer good has to prevail. A policy of ring fencing a working ethos in the classroom has to apply. What happens to the child after withdrawal is a debate of its own.

    Clearly for the sake of the 'nation' and the 'willing' the sooner either Grammar schools or classes organised by set/aptitude were general the better

  3. I have taught in different theatres of education, ranging from the private system, large high schools and am at present teaching in a special school for youngsters with behavioural problems, having been invited to leave main stream for the last time. My story, even now upsets me. Allegations, arrest, bail and suspension. Before you come to any conclusions, I can assure you that I am totally innocent of any wrong. However whilst being grilled by the police for six hours, I was shocked by the lies that were told by these pupils. Luckily there were so many witnesses that could back up the truth of what I said that nothing further happened. If the pupils that I teach were to remain in the main stream system, they would undoubtedly create enough havoc to disallow the majority from gaining the benefit of a good education. They would also drag the undecided with them. At the risk of offending the idealists amongst you who believe all you are told by these youngsters, who know the system better than you. When all avenues have been investigated, then, for the benefit of the vast majority of pupils, the real offenders must be removed. It is by far easier to teach a group of youngsters that have all been excluded than it is to teach a class of 25 plus 1 or 2 who have behavioural problems. So to say that ‘ When a child misbehaves, it is the teachers fault.’ Is not only unfair but also quite offensive.

  4. It seems we have a declining school population, so I would suggest that the surplus schools are converted into Pupil Response Units and disruptive children are moved from mainline schools to the PRU's. The PRU's should be staffed by Teachers who prefer to work with challenging children and should have a distinctive uniform. The School Day should be longer and the holidays shorter so that those excluded from a normal school should be made to reflect on why they are in a PRU. If disruptive children could be quickly and easily removed from the classroom the effect on other children would be electric. Also the parents of excluded children would be alerted to the problem without being taken to court. Some would als feel ashamed of their children which they don't now.

  5. At times an exclusion is the only option left. The biggest thing that any school has to consider is whether all options have already been used. As the comment above stated, a major (unaddressed) issue is with parents. Many abdicate responsibility and state the issue is caused by teachers.

    Sometimes they will state it is an individual teacher at fault when actually this situation has arisen due to unequal methods of classroom practise.

    It is a problem that has existed for a long time and will exist for a long time to come. Clear management from the top down, placing clear responsibility on pupils to adhere to rules that are followed by all teachers is the best way forward.

  6. I retired aged 60 three years ago not because I was past it or ill or longing to do nothing. No, I retired because I had the choice and because I HATED my job.

    I was (by my standards) failing due to my inability to teach most classes because of deliberate classroom disruption by a few pupils, resulting in the majority not being taught.

    Things have deteriorated drastically over the 27 years I have been working in schools. It doesn't matter why – (but it's certainly not poor teachers!). The solution is the same.

    I now work as a supply teacher and have been to dozens of different schools, and I can assure you that the situation is getting worse. (I do it for the money – very little learning takes place!)

    There ARE schools that have it sorted and they are those that do NOT expect the classroom teacher to take responsibility for behaviour, but have a simple system of consequences, initiated by the teachers but administered by the senior management of the school – e.g. Senior staff take the bulk detentions and communicate with parents. The ultimate consequence is of course expulsion.

    The teacher is NOT expected to be a councilor or a psychologist, or a police officer or a prison officer. Sufficient senior staff and resources (i.e. money) is made available to make it clear to students that disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated.

    License the teacher? What rubbish! Give the schools the power and reduce the rights of the student. THEY ARE CHILDREN. WE ARE ADULTS.

    Peter Crook, Birmingham

  7. I cannot add anymore than what has been said above. I am returning to a school (maternity leave) where half the class are disruptive and are violent to pupils, but also teachers. I also have the same problems as mentioned above but also feel that at the top is where it falls down as nothing is ever done and the children know they can get away with it as teachers can only go so far. The point about parents is also very valid as when brought in by the a teacher not the head etc they seem not to care as long as the child is out of their hair. Something needs to be done so that you can teach a lesson and enjoy teaching again

  8. I am a year 2 teacher with a class of 33 in a mixed social area. out of these pupils at least 6 are disruptive and no matter what approach you have towards the pupils nothing changes there attitude. As teachers we are already teachers, social workers, counsellors and substitute parents and that is usually before 9.15am! Please stop looking to blame taechers and look at parents and society, lack of parental time given to these children and parents trying to be friends or replacing love and talking with posessions is causing the problems. Until we get to the root of this the majority will always be interupted by the minority. My youngsters are all aware of bad behaviour and are totally fed up with not being able to learn and enjoy school without interruption. My opinion is if you don't want to exclude them, then make parents sit with them.I wonder who would do it day in day out?

  9. Anonymous fellow teachers. I was watching The Wire the other night and thought schools are the same all over. Trying to do too much with too little autonomy.

    We should model our state schools on our public schools and make sure every single pupil has similar opportunities for curricular subjects and extra-curricular activities. They should be in smaller classes and kept busy. They should do their homework as prep up to 5 each evening. The pupils should be obliged to do community work at 13+. They should have longer holidays. They should be able to network with businesses for the best intern jobs. But this is pie in the sky.

    Excluding pupils is an exercise in apathy. Everyone knows where the problems arise but few are active in finding the kind of resources which are needed to address them. How long for instance does it take to identify accurately pupils with learning difficulties? If you do not have money as a parent you have to rely on schools which don't have enough money or even interest or expertise. Yet this is known to be a source of pupil disaffection and contributes to disruption. This could be sorted with proper screening and would also lend to research which could improve outcomes.

    on the social side it is hard to intervene as a school with families who are struggling whatever their class. Often pupils display behaviour which indicates trouble in their whole lives. This can be played out in their relationships with teachers who they see as a challenge and sometimes resent because they do represent authority or even a sense of security. We do not have enough pastoral support of a high quality as teachers tend to struggle on with a good nature and good intentions. But cannot change the world or get involved directly.

    Bad behaviour is its own reward but it takes down a lot of people on the way. However we are still dealing with children and maybe if we were stronger in our resolve to oppose the negative influences that are so readily available to all of us we could protect or at least distract them from negativity. It is not about taking away but about giving more. Without harm to others.

    In my experience the schools that work support all of their teachers but reflect at the same time on what the whole school is going through. It is good to be clear in rules and procedures but often we keep disruptive students because sometimes the alternative for them is much worse. A moral dilemma played out each day in many schools. Shunning pupils moves the problem and does not solve much.

    The model we use for schooling is imported. This needs to change to a model that recognises the nature of our own society at local and national level. We have a duty of care to all our pupils how we resolve problems should reflect this but does not mean tolerating the intolerable. it is quite hard to teach pupils values when they see very few positive ones demonstrated in public life. But if we stop trying to be perfect and get on with what works maybe a few less people will end up on the scrap heap and that includes the kids who are neglected because of attention seekers and disrupters.

  10. I am a learning Support Assistant and have seen both sides. What happens is those that are disruptive, prevent others from learning and only ten minutes have been productive. We need more specialist involved to work along side teachers. So often have I also seen pupils being sent out before they have even said a word. We have to work together as a community and not rely on just the teachers.

  11. i think proper SLT support and proper sanctions can transform a school.

    OFSTED inspectors often slur teachers when its the students at fault.

    of course chronically behaved students should be put into PRUs. its only fair.

    everybody would benefit. the issue of SEN is a smoke screen- if a student prevents others from learning unless they have continous 1-1 supervision they should not be in a mainstream school.

    we are so confused about rights we have forgotten about collective rights and simple pragmatism

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