Home links vital to end exclusion

6th October 2000 at 01:00
EXCLUDED pupils from broken homes stand far less chance of making a go of it on returning to mainstream schools than those from stable families. Primary-age pupils are more likely to make successful returns than secondary students, a study by Barnardo's Scotland concludes.

Hugh Mackintosh, Barnardo's director, will today (Friday) tell a seminar in Edinburgh, jointly run with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, that children at risk of exclusion invariably experience difficulties at home.

"If children are to achieve their potential, it is vital that their needs outwith the school are also addressed," Mr Mackintosh says.

Parents and carers need help from social workers and other agencies to understand and manage their children at home.

Mr Mackintoh's comments follow the launch of a report, Back to School?, which highlights the gap between rhetoric and practice in reintegrating pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The Barnardo's report, by Darshan Sachdev and Helen Peak, argues for high levels of targeted support for the child, family, special school and mainstream school during any transition, which is likely to be most successful during the first two years of alternative education.

A study at Blackford Brae in Edinburgh, a Barnardo's school which has a high level of returns to mainstream, showed that in more than half the cases where school placements had not worked the home situation had also broken down.

Back to School? is available from Barnardo's Scotland (0131 334 9893).

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