The topic under consideration is school exclusion. In many years the choice of this topic is motivated by a number of good reasons which includes among other things: My experience working directly with young people excluded by schools, on alternative education provision programs puts me in a good position to bring in first hand account into the research work being carried out.
In addition, I have worked on projects that are related to social problems such as joblessness, alcohol and substance abuse and its attendant increased crime proliferation. A common trend that was observed among the majority of people that I came into contact with during this period exhibited interesting features that boarded on the subject matter of this research. Almost all the people had a visible form of low level of formal education; they also had a history of unpleasant experiences in the school setting.
Finally, it is important to state that current social and political policy places education at the centre for personal and social development, thus making the topic increasingly relevant to our day and age. It is against this background that Mr. Tony Blair former British Prime Minister was quoted as saying "The best defence against social exclusion is having a job, and the best way to get a job is to have a good education' (SEU 1999, Pp6). The Labour Government therefore committed itself to addressing the challenges posed by social inequalities. Consequently, in carrying out research on a topic which is of personal interest to me it is my desire to contribute to the body of existing knowledge in my research sphere and also as a reference point for future research work (Bell 1999 Pg2).
Indeed, the question of social exclusion and its attendant ills on the wellbeing of society is of paramount importance to stakeholders and interest groups. Many have therefore called for a well conserted approach to studying and addressing it. Suffice to cite a few statistical data from the 1999 report of the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) on Truancy and School Exclusion:
In the 1995/96 academic year there were 12,500 permanent exclusions;
Schools have to report to LEAs fixed-term exclusions (defined as exclusions of between five and a maximum 15 days per term) but the information is not collated. OFSTED estimates there are around 100,000 a year. Some of these may be repeat exclusions of the same child;
Most excluded pupils are white, male young teenagers. But a number of groups are disproportionately likely to be excluded;
children with special needs are six times more likely than others to be excluded;
African-Caribbean children are more than six times more likely to be excluded from the school system;
Children in care are ten times more likely;
83 per cent of excluded pupils are boys. 80 per cent are between 12 and 15 and half are 14 or 15;
Recent evidence however proves that exclusions at primary ages are rising fast - by 18 per cent as captured in the report;
Exclusion rates vary greatly from school to school, but tend to be higher in areas of deprivation;
Statistics from the SEU's report Preventing Social Exclusion (2001) sights:
Of all rough sleepers only 38% have any educational qualifications;
Young runaways are twice as likely to have been excluded from school compared to those who do not