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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 September 2018

School students in solitary: for full funding, not exclusion!

Privately run 'academy' schools are among the most punitive - school workers stopped academisation in east London with strikes, photo James Ivens

Privately run 'academy' schools are among the most punitive - school workers stopped academisation in east London with strikes, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Allan Gittisham, school teacher, London Socialist Party

'Isolation booths' - solitary confinement in all but name - are an increasingly common feature of 'zero-tolerance' school behaviour policies.

As the new school year begins, there is, as always, a flurry of articles detailing parents' and school students' opposition to uniform and behaviour policies at schools around the country.

One privately run 'academy' school in Stoke reportedly took dozens of students out of class for not having the correct purple trim on their trousers. And the Outwood Grange Academies Trust has released statistics on exclusions, with one of its schools in Middlesbrough suspending a staggering 41% of its students.

Many of the schools with draconian behavioural policies justify them on the basis that they are part of 'raising standards'.

It is true that for any school to function successfully there need to be clear and consistent systems in place. Students themselves often comment that they like to 'know where they stand' in terms of their behaviour and possible consequences.

'Zero tolerance'

However, the trend towards 'zero tolerance' is a worrying one that needs addressing to stop harm to individuals and communities.

Exclusion policies - isolation, suspension and expulsion - often prevent students learning the nuances of interaction with others. At best they are quick fixes which store up more problems in the long term.

And schools chasing league table positions sometimes use exclusions to artificially boost results by getting rid of students who may not perform well in exams.

These developments must be seen in the light of the massive cuts to state education. In the past, young people with complex needs would receive extra support to manage their behaviour and talk through their problems.

But social inclusion and special educational needs departments have been devastated by austerity and privatisation. Now exclusions are the preferred 'strategy' instead.

We need to fight for a genuinely inclusive education system, publicly owned and fully funded to meet the needs of all young people in education. School students, staff and parents must have proper democratic input into developing policies and systems based on mutual respect and genuine support - not quarantine.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 12 September 2018:


What we think

Corbyn must lead in fight against the Blairites


News

Tories in chaos - general election now!

Enfield North Labour Party votes 'no confidence' in its MP

4m children in homes that can't afford fruit and veg

Fearful bosses call for 'fairer capitalism'...

School students in solitary: for full funding, not exclusion!

Them & Us


Financial crash

10 years since the financial crash - the socialist answer to capitalist crisis


Workplace

NSSN rally: militant trade unionists share ideas to win for workers

TUC congress Brexit debate: unions must lead fight for a general election

Guards move closer to beating driver-only operation on Merseyrail giving confidence to other strikes

Cardiff Uber Eats couriers strike back against bosses

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Nicaragua: With the people against the Ortega government and imperialism

Support for Putin's regime dips over major attacks on state pensions

Sweden: left and far right gain as establishment parties falter

Ireland housing occupations


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Catford campaign against regeneration

Students unite and fight - free education now!

Reading council plans privatisation - set a no-cuts budget instead!

EDL outnumbered and confronted in Worcester

Fight against billionaire Newcastle boss Mike Ashley continues


Opinion

When working class women dominated football

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Academies:

triangleAnti-academy strikes growing

triangleNo to academisation of east London schools!

triangleAnti-academy strike action in Newham

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Students:

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triangleCoronavirus: Students' charter

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triangleParents - Organise against 'back to school' plans that threaten everyone's safety

Schools:

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triangleNo going back to unsafe schools

Education:

triangleNo 'back to school' until outbreak is under control and trade union agreed safety arrangements

Young people:

triangleYoung people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

Parents:

triangleChildcare - costly, inadequate and hard work

Privatisation:

triangleNHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

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