Putting inclusion at the heart of school ethos can help to support students facing exclusion and pull them back from the brink. Helen Ellis and James West consider what this looks like

Former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield’s Commission on Young Lives has warned that Covid-19 lockdowns have dealt a blow to particularly vulnerable children.

Many faced exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including domestic violence, addiction issues, abuse, and criminal exploitation, and schools are continuing to grapple with the fall-out.

Many of these children end-up being excluded from mainstream settings with Ms Longfield’s recent report (see SecEd, 2022) highlighting the steady rise in permanent exclusions and calling for an end to this “exclusions culture”.

Alternative provision is, in many instances, the most appropriate option for some children, who can present with a combination of complex behavioural, emotional, medical and social needs, and require dedicated, intensive care and teaching.

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