Frank Field MP
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How schools are judged on expelling pupils

THE Children’s Commissioner for England has released a report on school exclusions.

I have written to David Armstrong, Wirral’s Chief Officer, to ask how Birkenhead schools fare.

Governments insist that schools ensure that an increasing number of pupils leave with minimum school leaving requirements.

Michael Gove tells heads to crack down on disruptive pupils. But schools get a bad mark for excluding the troublemakers.

So what do schools do? According to this week’s report schools, like any other body, try and get around regulations.

Schools admit that they are illegally excluding pupils by sending them home for unrecorded “cooling off” sessions, coerce them into other schools or refuse to allow them back until their parents come in for a meeting.

I have asked David Armstrong whether he would ask heads, anonymously, to tell him what is really going on in Birkenhead schools.

It is very difficult to teach well with disruptive pupils in your class. But there are often very good reasons why those pupils are disruptive, and there is only so much teachers and heads can do to control bad behaviour.

We know that a baby’s life chances are possibly determined at age three and certainly by five. Schools can only make a 10% difference on a child’s outcome after this date.

10% is crucially important for life chances, but much of today’s uncouth behaviour is set in those early years.

I hope, once David has the information, we can have a meeting with Birkenhead schools so as to spread good practice.
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