Not all children are ready to meet the social and intellectual demands of school life. They may not respond to teachers or teaching methods, leaving them disengaged from the classroom. This can be seen through a child being withdrawn or ‘acting out’, behaving aggressively to teachers, fellow pupils or others around them. As a result class morale suffers, learning and teaching is inhibited and levels of attainment fall. The child or young person becomes susceptible to permanent exclusion, a damaging and stressful experience for both the child and parents.
Over the last three years, school exclusions have risen by more than 40%, with ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’ cited as the most prevalent reason. Excluded children and young people are highly vulnerable: at least half of those excluded are affected by mental health issues. Childhood mental health disorders are on the rise as a recent NHS report has illustrated that the rate of children with a mental health issue has increased to one in eight over the last decade. Mental health issues amongst children and young people are often unaddressed or unsupported by the education system. Half of school leaders say their teachers cannot identify mental ill health and 75% are unable to effectively refer to external services. Numerous studies have shown that this lack of understanding or early identification of these issues results in children exhibiting challenging behaviour that prevents them from successfully engaging in their education, thus increasing their risk of exclusion.
We are concerned about the rate of exclusions in the education system. We believe that a lot more could be done in early intervention and prevention within many schools to support children and young people to remove behavioural barriers, so they can engage in their learning. We develop a wide range of nurturing interventions which are designed to address these barriers, support children with their individual needs and create a child-centred approach to teaching and learning.