ASCL comment on suspensions and exclusions

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the government statistics on suspensions and permanent exclusions in England in the spring term 2022 to 2023.
This data unfortunately reflects what we are hearing from school leaders across the country – that there is a really difficult situation with challenging behaviour among some pupils. There are a number of reasons for this – mental health issues, unmet special educational needs, disengagement with the curriculum, and, in some cases, wider problems within families. 

“It hasn’t happened out of the blue. The whole tapestry of social and mental health support services around families and children has receded over the past 14 years because of budget pressures and increasing demand, and schools are left to pick up the pieces without sufficient funding. This means that behavioural issues often escalate to a point at which a suspension – or exclusion – is the only option that is left. 

“It is a terrible legacy of government underinvestment