There is currently increasing concern at the rise in pupil exclusions, both short-term and permanent, from schools at all levels - especially with regard to the exclusion of those children who are challenging in terms of their attitude, behaviour, additional learning and curriculum needs, and their impact upon the learning of others.
In On the Fringes, Jackie Ward explores a range of situations to raise understanding of the various issues around exclusion and considers potential solutions geared to help prevent them. As the author notes, this book is both a personal account and a solution-focused resource which addresses the key factors surrounding why so many schools run with the -˜give up' strategy of exclusion when they fail to address the real needs of the children in their care.
Readers will find the structure of the book very useful. Personally, I found the list of acronyms, the updated information provided on the legalities of exclusion, and the discussion of the role of CAMHS, of the impact of exclusion upon parents/carers, of addressing behaviour as an underlying need and of a range of alternative approaches - including PRUs, restorative justice and the Solihull approach - extremely beneficial.
Overall, this book offers a well-written and solution-focused insight into the murky waters of exclusion and its impact on individuals and families. The author discusses many inspirational ideas to enable more vulnerable children and young people with challenging behaviours to engage more positively with learning to improve their access and inclusion within mainstream schools and society.