A matter of inclusion: Schools continue to navigate government advice in support of students

National Inclusion Week 2021. Blog post by Lucy Wenham, University of Bristol  Helen Knowler, University of Exeter  Elizabeth J. Done, Institute of Education, University of Plymouth

As the school year in England begins once again against an evolving Covid-19 backdrop, we ask what this latest set of circumstances means for issues of inclusion, including which students will continue to be at greater risk of being sidelined, ‘off-rolled’ or marginalised (Wenham, 2021). Off-rolling or ‘grey exclusions’ refers to the removal of a student from the school roll when they are not subject to formal procedures such as permanent exclusion. Instead, parents are encouraged to deregister their child. (more…)

We need an evidence-based expert approach to the post-pandemic recovery of young people

Blog post by Patricia Broadfoot, University of Bristol; Roger Murphy, University of Nottingham

In December 2020, the Westminster government promised to set up an expert group to consider solutions to the huge variability of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on pupils’ educational experiences and progress. Two months later the Department for Education (DfE) announced that plans for this group had been scrapped. Instead, the DfE has appointed an education recovery commissioner to focus on so-called ‘learning loss’. Two successive children’s commissioners, the head of Ofsted and many others have expressed serious concerns about the current situation. There has also been widespread disagreement about the best strategies to employ and the resources required.

We need the best possible expertise to identify the issues that must be addressed if children are to flourish. We need experts to provide an integrated picture of the challenges that children face, and to suggest appropriate ways of addressing them. Without such expertise children could suffer lifelong impacts, as argued by two children’s commissioners and in a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (Sibieta, 2021). That report drew the following conclusions, which reflect our key concerns.

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