Education, Exclusion and Citizenship

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




Parsons, C. (2000), "Education, Exclusion and Citizenship", Health Education, Vol. 100 No. 2, pp. 88-89.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

School exclusion, with its impact on children and young people’s self‐esteem, life chances, and educational and social prospects, is undoubtedly a major health issue. There has been an alarming rise in school exclusions in recent years, perhaps because the increasing emphasis on performance, league tables, and school accountability is undermining schools’ motivation to manage the difficult pupils who disrupt school life, and some pupils are being excluded right from the early years of primary school. It is clear, too, that exclusion is not random, with the poorer sectors of society, and particularly those from ethnic minorities, being far more likely to be excluded than their more affluent and white fellows.

This book examines the issue of exclusion from an unusual and impassioned perspective: the author and his co‐authors are convinced that most of these exclusions are unnecessary, preventable, and are highly damaging for the pupils concerned. It widens the usual perspective of most works on exclusion, which tend to be on the behaviour of the pupil and how that can be changed, focusing instead on the motives and behaviours of the institutions which do the excluding. It suggests that the causes of exclusion include the values, policies and roles within which schools and LEAs operate, and asks questions about the kind of society and institutions which the authors believe neglect those most in need of help. The book also examines the experience of excluded young people, documenting the harm it does to their lives and attitudes. It suggests that schools and the LEAs must find more positive reactions to disruption, and that prevention is not only desirable but very possible, looking, for example, at successful inter‐agency work from Europe and the USA. The authors’ knowledge and authority about their subject is indisputable, and it is a very thorough and detailed book, which presents a wealth of carefully documented evidence to support its case. Teachers may find this championing of the cause of the excluded challenging, or even irritating: nevertheless, with schools under pressure to reduce exclusions, it is an invigorating, timely and thoughtful read.

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