Islington school excludes stabbing victim
‘Barred pupils are vulnerable’ warning after 16-year-old GCSE student was injured amid youth violence
29 March, 2019 — By Helen Chapman
Ken Muller: ‘It’s quite obvious as soon as kids are excluded they are vulnerable and it is very easy for them to get drawn into crime’
A 16-YEAR-OLD who should be sitting his GCSEs this summer has been excluded from a secondary school in Islington after being stabbed two weeks ago.
The case, which has opened up a new debate over the effectiveness of exclusions, saw the Year 11 pupil injured amid youth violence near Regent’s Park.
Police were called to reports of a fight but when they arrived the two stabbing victims had left the scene. They were traced after going to hospital.
The school attended by the 16-year-old said in a statement that exclusions are “very rare”. It added: “The welfare of students is top priority.”
Ofsted had last year commended the school for the support given to pupils, the statement added. “Pupils are safe and have a good understanding of how to keep themselves safe in different situations,” Ofsted had said.
The statement added: “While we are unable to comment on the exclusion of one young person, I can confirm that the school constantly reviews the policy on exclusions and adopts best practice to minimise exclusions. These are very rare. It works closely with the Islington safeguarding team and a range of support networks.”
Ken Muller, from Islington branch of the National Education Union, said: “It’s quite obvious as soon as kids are excluded they are vulnerable and it is very easy for them to get drawn into crime.
“As a union we want to protect our members but we don’t think the solution is law and order or having a heavy-handed exclusion policy.
“We are very concerned about the increase in school exclusions, which we think are largely the result of the pressures on students in schools that are turning into exam factories.”
Mr Muller added: “With cuts in teaching assistants particularly, this makes it much more difficult for schools to deal with students with behaviour problems and learning difficulties.”
Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield said: “Not all children who are excluded will fall into a gang. However, if you talk to any child in prison or in trouble with police they will almost always tell you that being excluded from school was the trigger point when they moved from the periphery of gangs to full membership.”