The VRP launched its ‘Additional Guidance When Considering Permanent Exclusion’ to head teachers and schools in Merseyside, September, 2020.
"By highlighting the principles, consequences and identifying local-level support, the VRP sees this guidance as a valuable tool to assist schools when undertaking the difficult job of considering exclusion sanctions," says Roger Thompson, Merseyside VRP’s education lead and author of the guidance.
"Whilst permanent exclusion is rightfully at the disposal of every head teacher, the long-term consequences for the 200 Merseyside children annually affected is immense, not least because of the increased links to criminality … Additionally, as schools deliver on their recovery plans in response to COVID-19, the risk of a further rise in exclusions is a regularly-voiced concern expressed by educational experts."
Currently, the loss of routine, structure, social interaction and freedoms for children during these difficult months may present as challenging behaviours in school. Previous pandemics have shown that children who experienced quarantine or social isolation were more likely to require mental health interventions. In today’s situation, we also have potential exposure to other forms of adversity and trauma, so the likelihood for disruptive behaviour may well rise.
Our top priorities of work in the following year are to:
- Develop additional exclusion guidance for schools.
- Prototype the ‘Mentors in Violence Prevention’ programme across a selection of Merseyside schools.
- Develop guidance for schools when commissioning violence reduction activities.
- Fund restorative practice approaches for when a young person is at risk of permanent exclusion.
- Provide strategic support for schools using restorative approaches during COVID.
Read about our work with Restorative Thinking here
Check out VRP's educational pocket guide about child criminal exploitation here.
Watch our partner organisation Merseyside Youth Association discuss their work on Mentors in Violence Prevention here