A 2017 report from the University of Exeter found that the poor mental health of adolescents was likely to lead to School Exclusions- and that exclusion could negatively impact their long term psychiatric health problems and lead to further distress.
Professor Tamsin, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the University’s Medical School, led the study and stated that:
“For children who really struggle at school, exclusion can be a relief as it removes them from an unbearable situation with the result that on their return to school they will behave even more badly to escape again.
“As such, it becomes an entirely counterproductive disciplinary tool as it encourages the very behaviour it intends to punish. By avoiding exclusion and finding other solutions to poor behaviour, schools can help children’s mental health in the future as well as their education.”
There remains very little progress since this report and the Education Secretary Damian Hinds is calling on schools to expel fewer pupils based on Ofsted’s recommendations.
We see that children with learning difficulties, mental health problems like depression, anxiety, ADHD and those on the autistic spectrum continue to be excluded from the classroom.
Research shows that exclusion is even more likely to happen amongst secondary school boy pupils and those living in socio-economically deprived circumstances.
We believe that, in order to tackle these problems effectively long-term, the Education secretary and business leaders should consider the value of peer learning. There are many benefits associated with peer learning both economically and socially.
It would be beneficial to commission projects associated with the power of peer learning for young people because research informs us that it:-
- Helps to boost motivation levels
- Increases and support effective communication and critical understanding
- Supports problem solving skills
- Encourages reflective learning skills and active engagement in learning.
- Provides a diverse and inclusive learning model
- Builds trusts and encourages collaboration from different perspectives
- Helps young people learn important inter-personal skills
- Helps to develop empathy and constructive feedback skills
- Improves speaking skills and confidence levels
- Increases employability skills
It would be highly beneficial for government initiatives to support school leaders and counsellors with action learning set techniques in running effective peer mentoring programmes in areas of most need and deprivation.