Department of Education Letter Sept 2020

No More Exclusions
A new grassroots coalition movement in Education
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP
Secretary of State for Education
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
Wednesday 2nd September, 2020
Dear Secretary of State for Education,
We, along with No More Exclusions, call on the Government for a moratorium on school exclusions
over the next academic year to give children returning to school time to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and
catch up on the education they’ve missed as a result of the current public health crisis.
As organisations and people with a vested interest in children, young people and education, we are
very concerned about how the return to school, after months of lockdown and ever-changing
messaging on daily living, will impact children.
We appreciate the challenges for government and schools in ensuring schools reopen safely to
enable children to resume their learning. These are indeed unprecedented times which, as we have
seen over the last six months, call for unprecedented measures. We strongly urge the government to
recognise and embrace the need for a different approach to school exclusions, especially given the
exceptional circumstances.
The government is well aware of the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental
health, well-being, education and ultimately their future. Returning to school will help mitigate some of
the foreseeable impact but will inevitably present new and difficult challenges, uncertainty and
confusion, especially as schools continue to grapple with how to manage reopening effectively and
safely.
The evidence is clear that children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds bear the brunt
of national decisions on managing the pandemic. They have been failed because they do not have
access to technology to participate in virtual education, despite government pledges that all children
would have access to a computer. They have been failed because schools have been inconsistent in
delivering education during lockdown. They have been failed by the impact on the economy. They
have been failed because local authorities’ duties to vulnerable children and young people were
diluted; the SEND duties being one example, the disproportionate rate of Black children experiencing
school exclusion for decades being another. Many will continue to be failed by the system, the exams
results fiasco is testament to how disadvantaged and marginalised children and young people are
systematically failed.
We believe the range of new measures introduced in schools will feed into punitive behaviour policies
which will ultimately lead to an increase in exclusions. It will be those in state-funded schools who will
be most affected by these changes, in the same way they were with exam results. It is illogical to say
it is a moral imperative that children return to school while putting them at greater risk of being
excluded from school because of new rules and regulations.
Children and young people, particularly within the groups statistically at greatest risk of fixed term and
permanent exclusion, will once again be failed by the system if the government does not act now. We
do not believe that relying on schools to do the right thing by complying with the ‘last resort’ principle
in exclusion decisions is sufficient. Many in education know this is not the reality, particularly for
schools with zero tolerance behaviour policies.
We are constantly told we are living in unprecedented times. The pandemic has caused us all to think
and act differently. We have had to adjust to fast changing guidance and regulations which impact
our lives significantly with daily, sometimes hourly, changes that are often confusing and bewildering.
It’s difficult enough for adults to understand what is expected of them at any given time, let alone
young people and children, yet they are subjected to the same restrictions and sanctions as adults.
Schools across the country have rightly raised serious and valid concerns about how they will resume
educating pupils come the start of term. How will they implement social distancing for large numbers
of children (often in already overcrowded spaces)? Should children wear face coverings in communal
spaces? How will they manage social bubbles in unstructured periods? How will they keep children
apart? This is all supposedly underpinned by a need to keep children and schools staff safe. These
are all issues that will feed into behaviour policies and ultimately be used to sanction pupils through
isolation and/or exclusion.
We are deeply concerned that head teachers and staff will be less than tolerant towards breaches of
behaviour policies, possibly through their own fears or more likely lack of understanding about what
they can and cannot do at any given time. Uncertainty will lead to inconsistency and inconsistency
leads to the inertia that ensures the systemic failure of the young people in our care. We need a clear
government mandate that schools cannot exclude children and instead support children to avoid
exclusion. This way children will not be affected adversely by either inconsistency or uncertainty on
the part of schools and will get the support they need to make the best of education. Don’t wait for the
backlash before being forced to U-turn, do what you know to be right from the outset.
We therefore strongly urge the government to suspend the exclusions guidance using emergency
powers as was the case in other areas of education. Alternatively, we call on the government to make
it unlawful for headteachers to exclude children for breaches of rules introduced around the pandemic.
Now is the time for the government to show that education really does matter and that children and
young people should be in school learning and enjoying the experience. The moral imperative should
not only be that children return to school but also that they stay in school to catch up on time lost over
the last six months.
This is why we call for a suspension on exclusions.
We look forward to seeing the immediate change to exclusions guidance to outlaw exclusions during
our suggested moratorium and details of the measures and resources to be put in place to support
children to stay in schools. As a collective, we would also welcome the opportunity to inform these
developments further. In anticipation,
No More Exclusions, along with a coalition of over 200 people including Youth representatives and
organisations, Parents/Carers and Family, Educators, Academics, Race Equality, Anti-Oppression,
Social Justice and Abolitionist Organisations, Groups and Activists, Writers, Legal Professionals,
Healthcare workers, Politicians and members of the general public. All names of signatories to date
are listed at the end of this letter.
Please reply to:
No More Exclusions
E mail: mailto:nomoreexclusions2020@gmail.com
Twitter: @NExclusions
Instagram: No.More.Exclusions
Website: www.nomoreexclusions.com
Correspondence Address: No More Exclusions C/o Race Equality Foundation, Unit 17 Deane House
Studios, 27 Greenwood Place, London, NW5 1LB
Signatories of this open letter as of 12pm on Wednesday 2nd September 2020:
Youth:
Ahmed Yassin Claremont Youth Project
Aislinn Evans youth worker
Ayah Ali Sixth form student
Bilaal Student
Elaine Donnellon Community worker Stop The Bleed Camden
Luke Billingham Hackney Quest
Mohammad Asghar Student
Oroma Wogboroma Researcher on children and young people
Raoul Dero Youth advocate…
Tatum Donnellon Community youth volunteer
Zeinab Adam Student
Parents/Carers/Family:
Cheri Mackay Mother
Ade Banjoko Director Parents Action and Resource Centre
Angela Palmer Parent
Caroline Hillier Parent
Caryl Gruar Parent of SEN child
Cassie Beaumont Autistic parent of autistic child
Cerianne Reeder Parent
Claire Moss Parent
D Butt parent
Dahlia Knight Grandparent
Emma Bill Parent
Itahisa Alvarez Gordon Mother and TA
Joyce Hylton Parent
Julia Jones Parent
Lisa Jay Parent
Lynn Gibson Parent / Labour Party / Unite
Mary Carson Parent
Michael Ellinson Parent
Mohammed Nafeel Father
Mr Qamar Uldin Parent
NICHOLINE CREARY Parent
Rachel Rodgers Parent
Ranna McArdle Grandparent
Rebecca Wood Parent
Samantha kilshaw Parent
Sidnie Parent
Sophie hill Mother
Venessa Bobb Founder A2ndvoice
Wayne Shallis Parent
Kylie Parent
Education Professionals – Includes teaching staff, school staff, governors, educational
psychologists and educational practiotioners:
A Khemchand PE Teacher
Abigail Miranda educational psychologist
Alasdair Smith Teacher
Angela Henry Teacher
Anji McAnuff Teacher
Anna Case Teacher / St Mary’s Menston
Anthony Egbinola Teacher
Audrey Litchmore Shooters hill 6th Form College
Ayaan Bulale Open School East
B.Hillman Teacher
Bianca Williams Teacher
Chrissa Wadlow Sunshine Support
Cleo Lewis Assistant Head Teacher
Dalian Adofo Educational Consultant
Debbie Mather Teacher, mother to asd chold
Delroy Lead Practitioner St Martin in the Fields academy
Denise Henry Teacher and union activist
Eleanor Linsley Teacher & NEU School Rep
Esther Wakelin-Stotten Teacher
Fay Allen NEU/ TEACHER/ BRIXTON
Gillian Hart Retired teacher
Hadda Levy Teacher
Hannah Baynton Trainee Educational Psychologist
Ivy Scott Teacher
J Fubey Teacher
Jack Park Primary Teacher, Dovedale Primary School, Liverpool
J Alexander Teacher
Jessica Hirani Secondary school teacher
Joshua Moses Education Advocate
Karen Parny Teacher
Kelly Pawlyn Governor Camden School for Girls
Kelly Pawlyn Governor Camden School for Girls
Kevin Murphy Safeguarding lead
Khadijah Teacher
Kwame Ocloo Executive Director- Youth Learning Network Ltd
Laury Ntoko Director of MFL/ Harris Academy South Norwood
Melissa Hind Teacher
Mical Nelken
Teacher of English and EAL Coordinator, La Sainte Union Catholic
School, Camden London
Naomi Tobias Teacher
Natasha Johnson Director Go Digit All
Nazmia Jamal Teacher
Raheem Mu Khepera MBE Prime Unltd
Ro Henry-Grant Teacher
Sally Jones SEND Practitioner
Sarah Cox Retired teacher
Sarah Louise Horobin Maths Teacher, DCG
Sharon McKenzie Croydon supplementary School
Sherene Meir Adult Educator, Gateshead Council
Shirley Green Teacher (Primary)
Simon Murch Teacher, National Education Union
Tania Tirraoro Special Needs Jungle Ltd
Thomas Keep T.A
Tom Foxall Teacher
Tom Oberst Teacher
Tony Hamlet Teaching assistant
Viviene Royal TLG South Birmingham
Viviene Royal TLG South Birmingham
Ziggy Moore Moore Education
Dr Heather Geddes
Teacher and Educational Psychotherapist – now retired (Associated
with the Caspari Foundation)
Janet Matthews Weardale Branch Chair, North West Durham CLP and retired teacher
Academia Professionals:
Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper Research Associate in Sociology, University of Greenwich
Dr Karen Graham Senior Lecturer in Education, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Sofia Mason
Royal Holloway, University of London (UCU Branch
Committee/Personal Capacity)
Dr Sol Gamsu Assistant Professor in Sociology of Education
Dr. Kirsty Morrin Lecturer, University of Liverpool
Gargi Bhattacharyya Professor of Sociology
Greg Ryan Senior Lecturer in Social Work
Helen Knowler Lecturer University of Exeter
Helen Knowler Lecturer University of Exeter
Jeff Knowler Retired University Technician
Karis Campion University of Manchester
Laura Quick Education Researcher, UCL
Laura Quick Education Researcher, UCL
Malcolm RIchards University of Exeter
Maymana Arefin UCL
Remi Joseph-Salisbury University of Manchester
Rhiannon Lockley
Birmingham City University – Foundation Year Lecturer & UCU Branch
Secretary
Riadh Ghemmour PhD candidate, University of Exeter
Rob Smith Birmingham City University
Sean Wyer PhD Student
Tom Cowan UCL
Race Equality – including for Young People and in Education
Ife Thompson Founder BLAM UK
Jabeer Butt Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation
Jamie Schearer-Udeh Anti-Racism Consultant
Josina Calliste Land in Our Names
Kunle Olulode Director Voice4Change England
Zita Holbourne BAME Lawyers for Justice
Black Educators Alliance Black Educators Alliance (BEA)
Black Educators Alliance Black Educators Alliance (BEA)
Daniel Johnson Haltth Exclusions.
Kadeem Marshall-Oxley No More Exclusions
Nirad Abrol No More Exclusions
Roxy Legane Director, Kids of Colour
Zahra Bei No More Exclusions Co-Founder
nas nova Tribe Named Athari
Anti-Oppression, Social Justice and Abolition Organisations and Activists
Jodie Beck Co founder, Our Empty Chair
Kelsey Mohamed Cradle Community
Mo Mansfield Abolitionist Futures
Lani Parker Sisters of Frida Director
Minda Burgos-Lukes Social Justice & Anti-Oppression Organiser & Consultant
Sarah Mann Director, Friends, Families and Travellers
Dom Hunter The Class Work Project
Freedom Zampaladus The Urban Equestrian Academy
Freedom Zampaladus The Urban Equestrian Academy
Kahiye Alim Director Council of Somali Organisations
Robina Qureshi Positive Action in Housing
Trade Unionists
Andrea Gilbert BAME Officer TEFL Workers Union
Anita Conradi Local Officer Wandsworth NEU
Anna Wolmuth Islington NEU branch
Daniel Kebede Senior Vice President – National Education Union
Duncan Morrison Branch Secretary, Lewisham NEU
Ellen Graubart Unite Community
Ewa Jasiewicz Union Organiser
James Kerr Lewisham NEU President
Lucy Cox National Education Union
Marian Mayer Bournemouth University Co-chair UCU
Paul Phillips NEU rep
Tyrone Falls Bristol NEU (International Solidarity Officer)
Vik Chechi-Ribeiro NEU MANCHESTER vice president
Yvonne Hardman LGBT+ Organising Forum Member National Education Union
Healthcare Professionals
Alia Butt Psychotherapist NHS
Lyn Boyd Mental Health North East
Martin Murray Paramedic
Nigel Frost Mental health / support worker
Rachel Ambrose Registered Mental Health Nurse (CAMHS)
Saffya Fatima Counsellor and Psychotherapist
Shelby-Jayne Bolton NHS support worker
Yemi Lipede Psychotherapist
Legal Professionals:
Alex Temple Education Solicitor
Michael Etienne Barrister
Writers and Media
Chris Alston Author
Ilyas Nagdee Writer and activist
Terry Ellis Author | Forward Trust Ambassador
Syed Joshim Ali Guardian
Politicians
Anamul Islam Councillor, Forest Gate North
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP Member of Parliament for Streatham
John McDonnell Member of Parliament
General Public Members
Ada Peter Nwike TiA Group
Alaa’a Ashkar Relations Communicator
Alexander Richards Director
Andrea Saunders
Angeline Hargreaves
Anna Torvaldsen
Bee Lindeboom
Ben Ovio ENDIP International Development LTD.
Bridget Dunne
Carel Buxton
Carlos Soto Barnet Momentum (in personal capacity)
Carolyn Storer
Cath Attlee
Cathy Kelly
Chris Bagley
Claire Clews
Claudine Duherry Service manager
Daniel Lewis Financial Controller
Dave Gurman
Erin Cunningham
Evon Renny
Fahima ahad
Farhaana Arefin
Gillie Evans
Humza Hanif Student
Ivana mackinnon
J colling Supporter
Jade Forbes
Jamal Natour M.D. Fumasoftware LTD.
Jeff Knowler Self employed
Kay Stephens
Leila Cass-Darweish
Llewellyn Radley
Madhia Farooq
Maire Verrall
Margaret De Leon Supporter
Marlon kameka
Matthew Jones
Michelle Mann Catering assistant
Moira Gomes Retired
Nichola Morris Local Government Officer
Patrick Brady Concerned citizen
Robert Larkins Citizen
Saleh Mamon Researcher
Sameer taneja Technical advisor
Sumayyah E. Ibrahim
Tina McKay
Usama Javed
Zaleera Wallace HAIRDRESSER
Andrew Director