We need to find an Alternative way
On Fri 16 Feb, we hosted an Early Intervention symposium at the farm - looking at how better to deal with the growing problem of school exclusion.
With the Council, local schools, academics, Alternative Provider organisations, and the Trust all well represented, our aim was to see what more could be done to provide better outcomes for excluded children. Even the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire made it - hot-footed from hosting HRH the Prince Of Wales in Rotherham!
As we've been saying for a while now, school exclusions really are a gnarly issue. Notwithstanding the personal tragedies of children not fulfilling their potential, we heard the lifetime cost to society is an average of £370,000 for every excluded pupil. Over 60% of prisoners have a history of school exclusion. And then there's the 'double whammy' effect - the majority of exclusions are related to mental health issues, but exclusion itself is likely to trigger mental health issues.
Schools and the council need support to deal with the issue, but often find it difficult to access Alternative Provision - funding limitations play a major role. And the Alternative Providers are struggling to keep their heads above water as they provide the services that are so desperately needed at their own expense.
We're not suggesting that there's an easy answer for this - it's going to need serious thought and some bold moves. But what is clear is that, quite literally, we can't afford to do nothing.