Excluding racist pupils

Debate – Secondary School

What was the issue addressed?
There have been exclusion hearings relating racist behaviour by two children. One in particular, was persistently using inappropriate language and actions to ethnic minority students in the school.

What happened?
I have previously dealt with similar issues but not from young students. The education department and staff assisted me with information on the issues. The Headteacher is now resolving the issue with trained staff and governors.

What lessons were learnt?
Staff dealing with issues of this kind need to be properly trained and supported.

Exclusion (fixed term and permanent) from school is a very serious matter and is not something that is done lightly. Several factors would have been considered before the Headteacher made this decision. Whilst the specific details are unknown, here are some useful publications to assist you:

Schools have an obligation to record any incidents, noting the action taken. Likewise, the governing body needs to monitor information carefully and make any relevant changes to school policies as appropriate.

Exclusion from schools and pupil referral units (PRU) – This is excellent guidance which provides information on the role of the head, timescales, the pupil discipline committee and reintegration etc.

The Equality Act 2010 protects learners from discrimination based on protected characteristics, one of which is race. The public sector equality duty of the 2010 Act places a general duty on the governing body to have due regard to the requirement to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation etc., and to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it and to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

Relevant information can be found in sections 1.17.2 – 1.17.13.

School policies are therefore, so important to underpin the school’s values and to assist in developing an inclusive ethos, i.e., respecting one another. A whole school approach involving all staff, pupils, parents and governors, helps to embed exemplar practices and secures a common understanding of what is not acceptable.

Schools and governing bodies need to review their policies (for example, behaviour, anti-bullying, equality), practices and procedures to ensure that all school staff are aware of and understand the processes that are in place.

Many Local Authorities will provide training for governors on pupil exclusion. Schools should also ensure that staff understand the processes and act consistently. Some school will use designated INSET time to reflect on pupil behaviour management strategies and to review and update procedures. This is an excellent way for all staff to share effective practices.

Your Local Authority will also have useful information to assist you. Here are some links to additional information to support schools and governors:

Have there been any serious incidents of racism in your school? If so, how has the governing body supported the school in addressing this?
Do staff and governors at your school receive regular training on racism and other forms of discrimination?

Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?

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