Managing exclusions in schools: in whose interests?
conference contributionposted on 05.03.2015, 12:47 by Hugh Busher
This paper considers briefly the policy and social contexts of student exclusions from schools and some of the common reasons for those exclusions, before moving on to explore some school policies and strategies that are used to enact exclusion and to encourage students at risk of exclusion to engage more successfully with schools. Interpreting these policies and strategies of exclusion is, however, problematic. Although they appear to foster rejection from the educational community for some young people struggling to position themselves in the organisational and social contexts which surround them, they are often portrayed as a means of promoting better general student engagement with schooling and of giving targeted help and support to particular students. Yet there are strong disciplinary elements in exclusion which tend to position the recipients as social outsiders to normal educational structures by depriving them of, through not giving full access to, the educational resources available to other students, so disadvantaging those excluded students in their struggles to gain a reasonable style of life as adults. It raises conundrums for school leaders about what values to implement and how and in whose interests, and which students’ needs should be given priority in what ways.