Rising school exclusions, particularly among ethnic minority groups, are posing a threat to the target of reducing truancy and exclusions by one third by 2002. To counter the threat The Runnymede Trust research on exclusions and its implications published in December 1998 is now being translated into action across a broad front.
The Department for Education and Employment, the Department of Health, local authorities, The Children’s Society and The Runnymede Trust are collaborating to implement a cohesive strategy. The DfEE has issued draft guidance on preventing avoidable exclusions and it has doubled this year’s mentoring programme budget, which specifically supports ethnic minority communities, from 40,000 to 80,000 pounds.
There will also be extra teachers and teaching assistants supported through the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant. Key elements of the strategy will be the involvement of parents and partnerships between schools and ethnic minority communities. The network of study support centres – many based at football clubs – will continue to help children back on to learning where pupils have lost motivation in schooling.