Priority is inclusion

30th November 2007 at 00:00
I am extremely saddened, yet not surprised, that some schools behave in such a manner that results in a pupil exclusion described in your article "Governors in mass walkout over biting boy" (TES, November 23).

Some schools (too many) are so set in the institutional practice of exclusion that they seem never to take a step back and reflect on the traditional procedures they employ.

At our school, we support and attempt to understand children with challenging behaviour, employing many strategies which keep these children in our school. Inclusion is top of our list and due to the success of our procedures over the past two years, we have had no fixed or permanent exclusions.

How do we manage this, even though we termly accept two or three "managed cases" of pupils with challenging behaviour from other schools? We manage through our nurture group, an extremely effective and intelligent behaviour support team, close liaison with the two pupil referral units in the city, pastoral support plans with agencies for individuals, and respect for these pupils and their parents. Above all, it is the corporate vision towards inclusion held by all who work and govern in our school.

One day last week I asked all the support staff who work in many one-to-one situations with children with challenging behaviour to remain after school for 10 minutes. I wanted to acknowledge and praise their work, which may mean that they are often spat at or hit by children unable to understand and cope with their extreme emotions, yet which through employing Team-Teach ensures our pupils remain safe and secure.

We are the adults. We are the ones who aim to develop effective relationships involving forgiveness that possibly will help a child's life to improve through inclusion at Caldecote Primary.

Hazel Pulley, Headteacher, Caldecote Community Primary School, Leicester.

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