A new report says short-term exclusions from school don't work, and is calling for disruptive children to be excluded from mainsteam schools for as much as a year and sent to correctional schools instead.
In a damning criticism of existing school policies, it brands short-term exclusions as 'madness', claiming it has no effect on improving behaviour. Instead, it proposes a new generation of 'pupil referral units', set up to change the behaviour of persistent troublemakers.
These alternative schools would include the use of army-style training – led by former members of the armed forces – to help correct their behaviour, attendance and attitude to education.
The report, entitled Children Behaving Better, comes from the right-wing think tank, The Centre for Policy Studies.
According to recent figures, children were suspended from English state schools for just one day on 131,620 occasions last year. Pupils were barred 92,840 times for two days and handed three-day suspensions on 62,320 occasions.
But the CPS warns that such an approach fails to correct pupils' behaviour – leading to repeat suspensions throughout the academic year.
Figures show 1,190 pupils were suspended for 10 times or more in 2008/9.
'Fixed term expulsions of a few days are too short a time for even a successful provider to make much mark; very little can be done in less than a year,' says the report.
'Not only is an absence of a few days disruptive to the child's progress academically, it also seems to have little disciplinary effect upon those who are being excluded on a regular basis.
'Returning children who have learnt little during their absence (and not altered their troublesome behaviour) to the same classrooms from which they were banished, seems to conform to Einstein's description of madness: 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results'.
The report says charities and private companies, including profit-making organisations, should be encouraged to step in to run units for expelled children. Existing council-run units often fail to improve children's education, with only one-in-100 gaining five decent GCSEs.
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