On Monday 18th July, various media outlets and publications stated that ‘Southwark schools agree not to exclude students’. Southwark Association of Secondary Headteachers (SASH) believe that this is a misrepresentation of our members’ position and the contents of Southwark Local Authority’s (LA) ‘Inclusion Charter’.
Firstly, SASH members, in collaboration with other services that support children and their families such as Social Services, have been actively engaged in the process of drafting the Inclusion Charter during the past few months. Although there is a lot to commend in the Charter in its current form, SASH members are yet to be full signatories. We continue to work with LA representatives to ensure that the wording accurately reflects both the aspiration and the practice locally.
Secondly, it is important to note that that the Inclusion Charter does not advocate for a ‘non-exclusion’ policy. The Charter explicitly states that there are ‘rare instances where exclusion is unavoidable to safeguard children’. SASH members agree with this position but would like to amend this aspect of the Charter to include ‘where the safety and well-being of staff is put at risk’. This approach is in line with the Department for Education’s guidance on exclusions which comes into force from 1st September 2022.
SASH members are committed to inclusive education and have worked collaboratively as a group of schools to significantly reduce the number of permanent exclusions. We are proud of the education provided by our schools and continue to work positively and pro-actively with all relevant agencies to ensure that children in Southwark receive a first-class education.
For more Catherine Moore firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 940 5106.
- Matt Jones, Chair of SASH, was awarded an OBE for Services to Education in the 2022 New Year’s Honours list.