One of the school’s aims is “To change the negative behaviour of our pupils to more socially constructive ways”.
In trying to achieve this aim the school uses four types of learning:
• There is a learning from routines, doing certain activities the same way every day;
• There is a learning from modelling by adults who mean something to the child;
• There is a learning from talking and counselling leading to insight and understanding;
• Finally, there is a learning from praise and consequences.
The school tries to use all these in its efforts to help the pupil have the understanding about their behaviour and develop new ways to manage situations they previously would have found challenging.
In this policy, the learning that comes praise and consequences concerns us, more particularly the learning that comes from consequences. Fortuna School, like any other school, needs a series of consequences ranging from mild to serious. In this instance we are concerned with the consequence of excluding pupils:
There are two types of exclusion
• Fixed period exclusions which may last from 1 day to 15 days
• Permanent exclusion where the pupil does not return to the school.
The school will use exclusion as rarely as possible but will retain it as a serious consequence in certain cases. It will only be used when other consequences have not worked or where the offence is so serious that a clear message about boundaries and safety needs to be given. There may be exceptions to this in unpredictable acts of violence or destruction, but such exceptions should be very rare, as most behaviour can be anticipated. The school will always discuss the behaviour with the parent/careers and plan strategies to help to manage it.
Behaviour that will lead to a Fixed Period of Exclusion
• Violence: The first rule of the school is “Remember everyone has the right to feel safe in their body and in their feelings”. In exceptional circumstances, if a pupil is seriously violent to another pupil or to an adult the pupil may face an exclusion.
• Repeated serious damage to property: In the case of damage the child will be asked to make some form of reparation and the parent will be invited to make a contribution. A clear indication will be given to the child and parent/carer that a repetition will lead to an exclusion.
Where possible the parent/carer will be invited to the school to discuss matters before an exclusion is imposed.
The school makes a commitment to a pupil and parent on admission, recognising that their choice of school is limited, and does everything in its power to keep to that commitment. So a permanent exclusion is a very rare event.
The reasons for considering a permanent exclusion are:
• we are obviously not meeting the pupil’s needs and have exhausted all strategies to help him;
• the pupil’s violence is a threat to the safety of pupils and staff;
• the disruption caused by the pupil seriously interferes with the learning of others;
• the behaviour makes too many and unreasonable demands on staff.
As soon as the school has doubts about any of the above points the parent will be informed. In almost every case the pupil will have had a number of fixed period exclusions which are always accompanied by discussions with the parent/carer. The Head of School will inform the governors in their termly report of any pupils who are causing concern.
It is expected that before moving to permanent exclusion the school will have had many and lengthy discussions with the parent/carer and all other professionals concerned with the pupil.
In such discussions the school will seek to find a more suitable provision for the pupil, for example, a boarding school, a therapeutic community or a school for specific learning difficulties.
The school will do all in its power to facilitate a smooth transfer to such a provision and will try to avoid permanent exclusion while the placement is being arranged. The school has a good record in doing this and will continue to work with the child as far as possible.
In cases however, where the school community is suffering too much damage as a result of keeping the child in school and no alternative provision is likely without a long delay the school will move to permanently exclude the pupil.
The procedures are laid down by the DfES and in the Local Authority Guidelines on Exclusions. The school will follow the Local Authority procedures and make sure parents have access to the booklet.
Fixed Period Exclusions:
Only the Executive Head and the Head of School have the power to exclude a pupil.
The parent will be informed without delay, usually by phone. This will be followed by a letter indicating the reasons for the exclusion, the length of the exclusion and the right of the parent/carer to make representations to the Governors and the Local Authority, both of whom have the power to reinstate a pupil who has been excluded for a period in excess of 5 days.
If parents/carers want to make representations about the exclusion the governors must convene a meeting to discuss the matter as soon as possible.
On the pupil’s return to school after a fixed period of exclusion parents will be asked, where possible, to accompany their child to discuss the post-exclusion plan with a member of the Senior Management Team
The Head of School will inform the pupil’s parents/carers of the exclusion and the specific reason for it, including all relevant particulars and refer to any previous warnings or fixed term exclusions.
The parent will be informed of their right to write to the governors or to come to the meeting and state their point of view. Parents/carers have seven school days to let the school know what they want to do.
The Governors should meet within 15 school days to discuss the exclusion and any points the parents/carers want to make. There must be a minimum of three governors excluding the Head of School.
The Head of School will provide a written report which will be sent to the Governors, the Exclusion Co-ordinator and parents/carers at least five days before the meeting to give them adequate time to read and digest it.
At the meeting the Governors will hear all the reports. The Exclusions Co-ordinator, parents/carers and any school governors not on the exclusions committee, including the Head of School will be asked to leave while the governors make their decision. Once this has been agreed the Exclusions Co-ordinator will join them to make the final decision.
Finally the parents/carers, other Governors and the Head of School will re-join the meeting to hear the decision. If the exclusion is upheld the Local Authority Exclusions Co-ordinator will inform the parents/carers within 5 school days of the decision. Parents/carers will also be given details of their right to appeal to an Independent Appeals Committee.
Work for a pupil during a period of exclusion from school
As far as is practicable the school will provide, and mark, school work for a pupil who is excluded until he returns from the exclusion or until 15 days after a permanent exclusion has been upheld.
After Permanent Exclusion
The school will not forget its excluded pupil, but will continue its commitment to them by doing all it can to see that they get the provision they need.