Panel presentations (Harry Daniels, Alison Woodhead and Lisa Cherry) for the Rees Centre Annual Lecture 2019 on school exclusion and issues for looked after and adopted children.
Harry Daniels, Professor of Education
This brief talk will provide a background to central aspects of exclusion from school and an overview of a new four year project led by Professor Harry Daniels and Associate Professor Ian Thompson at the University of Oxford’s Department of Education. A team of researchers operating across Oxford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Reading and the London School of Economics (LSE) will develop a multi-disciplinary understanding of the political economies and consequences of school exclusion across the UK. The research will lead to a greater understanding of the cost of exclusions at individual, institutional and system levels, as well as pupils’ rights, entitlements, protection and wellbeing, and the landscapes of exclusion across the UK’s four jurisdictions.
Alison Woodhead, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Adoption UK
Not all children have an equal start in life. But all children deserve an equal chance at school. For tens of thousands of adopted children in the UK, the reality of school is a daily struggle for survival. Many are failing academically as a result, and levels of exclusion are high. Through detailed surveys of families and teachers, interviews with schools and discussions with education experts, Adoption UK has identified significant gaps in understanding, empathy and resources that are preventing adopted children from having an equal chance to succeed at school.
Lisa Cherry, Author and Trainer
One area that has received a lot of attention and focus in regard to looked after children has been education. Statistics have shown consistently that children living away from home under perform at every key stage within education. Looked after children are five times more likely to face a fixed term exclusion and twice as likely to experience a permanent exclusion (Department for Education, 2017). This study focuses on what impact there has been on education and employment on care experienced adults who left care in the 1970’s and 1980’s and were excluded from school.
The findings offer a narrative on education across the life course of those who have been looked after away from home and excluded from school that suggests a strong desire to engage with education into adulthood. Relationships and their impact upon the individual, negatively and positively, raise questions about impact on the participants but also the perceived understanding of impact that teachers and social workers have of their input. In conclusion, the data collected provides answers about impact and the journey that had been undertaken to recover a lost education. These findings are important as they inform further research. They offer a different narrative about what happens to people across the life course and enable some insights for educators about their opportunity for positive impact and the results that this can bring, that ultimately stay with a person throughout their life.