What does the research into poverty and its links to exclusion and other consequences tell us? How we can best support disadvantaged young people? Sean Harris takes a look at the research and explores the excellent work being undertaken in Hartlepool

Alfie was hard work.

In one of my previous leadership posts, it seemed that trying to prevent Alfie from being excluded was the core business of my day.

From confrontations with members of staff, refusal to engage in lessons, and sometimes arriving to school with the feint smell of cannabis on him, Alfie was so close to self-destruction. Any self-belief was intoxicated by his aggression.

We got Alfie through his GCSEs. In fact, Alfie wasn’t the hardest part that year, it was managing the expectations of a small number of colleagues who had given up on him.

I recall one teacher, stating frustration at the fact he had sworn at her: “I shouldn’t have to teach kids like him. I didn’t come into the profession for that.”

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