this campaign shows how kicking kids out of school can lead to prison

#EducationNotExclusion highlights how disadvantaged children often don’t get the support they need under our current education system.

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23 August 2018, 2:06pm

Image via Twitter

It’s GCSE Results Day, a time of nerves and hope and sadness and joy. But not for everyone. Not everyone gets the opportunity to even take the exams, something a group of young south Londoners is drawing attention to. This morning, a guerrilla campaign appeared on the tube, branded #EducationNotExclusion. It showcased an often overlooked line; the School to Prison Line. First stop Sent out of class, then to Detention, on to Isolation, Temporary Exclusion, Permanent Exclusion then Pupil Referral Unit, Young Offender Institution and, finally, Prison. Unless you end up on the Reoffending loop.

The accompanying text reads, “Today is GCSE Results Day. While most pupils across the country are excitedly awaiting news about their future, thousands remain left behind. Every day, 35 students (a full classroom) are permanently excluded from school. Only 1% of them will go on to get the five good GCSEs they need to succeed. It is the most disadvantaged children who are disproportionately punished by the system. We deserve better.”

#EducationNotExclusion highlights the domino effects that excluding young people from class has on their entire life. “Excluded 12-year-olds are 4 times more likely to be jailed as adults,” the poster states. Meanwhile, the “Line closed indefinitely”, which those who are sent out of class will never to get to take, goes from Empathy to Education to Success. It highlights how the disparity between those who get educational support, and those cut out of the system. The privileged flourish, while the ones who need the most support get nothing. As the poster states, “Excluded pupils are 7 times more likely to have special education needs.”

The problem is that it’s cheaper and quicker to kick someone out than invest the time and resources into the care they need. But money isn’t exactly something the government’s eager to cough up. In February it was reported that 15,000 teachers in the UK lost their jobs in the previous two years, as a result of massive funding cuts to the education system. Meanwhile, unions warned that as this number decreases, student numbers are increasing.

To quote the campaign: “We demand a more compassionate education system with a supportive approach to behaviour and discipline. And we demand that schools are given the financial resources to make it possible.”

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