Thrive’s response to the Timpson Review of School Exclusions

The rising rate of exclusions was the issue the founders of Thrive initially came together to try and address back in 1994, and although the rate is not as high as it was then it has been on an upward trajectory since 2014. The concern today is that it is disadvantaged children and young people or those with special educational needs that are more likely to be excluded, and that this could be because schools are trying to protect their league table positions.

Whether or not this is the case, the Timpson Review has gathered evidence to show that the use of exclusions, both fixed-term and permanent, is inconsistent and that at the end of the day it is the young person who suffers. Timpson says that “every child, regardless of their characteristics, needs or the type of school they attend, deserves a high-quality education” and that we need a school system that will “create the best possible conditions for every child to thrive and progress.”

We believe that an approach like Thrive should be part of the solution, by helping to prevent the need for exclusions in the first place – rather than focusing on a cure after the event.


How can Thrive help reduce exclusions?

How? The Thrive Approach looks at the underlying issues causing challenging behaviour. If we understand what the unmet needs of children and young people are, we can address the core of the problem. The result is a greater ability to manage behaviour in different circumstances and children who are more open and ready to learn.

The Thrive Approach is a whole-school initiative, using an online mapping, measuring and monitoring tool to help identify children’s emotional and social development needs. The strategies and activities it recommends can be easily incorporated in curriculum planning, and these can be used with whole groups or just with those children identified as requiring additional support.

So, while any review that looks to address the underlying issues to a rising level of exclusions is a good thing, we would question whether the Timpson Review goes far enough. And given the government’s response, will the recommendations be implemented soon enough to stop the current upward trend in the rate of exclusions – affecting the future of some 8,000* children and young people likely to be permanently excluded this year? What is the long term cost of this to society?


Tags: ACEs, adults, adverse childhood experiences, behaviour, children, curriculum, curriculum planning, developing resilience, development, disadvantaged children, disorders, emotional, exclusions, fixed-term exclusion, funding, learning, mental health, online, permanent exclusion, positive impact, relationships, resilience, resilient, school, social, staff, students, support, supporting, targeted, Thrive-Online, wellbeing, young people


*In 2016/17 there were 7,720 permanent exclusions in state-funded primary, secondary and special schools, source Department of Education report published July 2018.