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Children out of school because of bullying

June 19, 2012

BTW Ofsted research on bullying in the news on Monday 18th June 2012:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/almost-half-of-pupils-suffer-bullying-with-taunts-over-weight-and-hair-7858856.html

It is great to see Ofsted’s Director of Education echoing what Red Balloon has been saying for many years – that schools must develop a positive culture so all pupils learn in a happy and safe environment. Because if schools do not we will end up with more traumatised children too scared to go to school, who miss out on education, a social life and all the experiences of teenage years. When they arrive at a Red Balloon they are often self harming, anorexic, have post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, depression and over 50% 0f them have seriously thought about killing themselves or tried to do so.

There are currently 16,000 of these children (NatCen 2011) across the UK who self -exclude. Interestingly, for this group of children there are no special centres: no alternative educational provision tailored to their special needs and, more importantly, no extra money to help them recover.  In fact they are a vanished group, hiding under the duvet at home. Other groups of children have ‘extra’ money – especially those who disrupt or who are violent in class.  Yes, we need to prevent bullying; yes, we need better ways of creating a calmer, more positive culture for children in schools and yes, we need to train teachers to deal with incidents  – but for those that the system fails we also have to provide a safety net.  And Red Balloon is the only provider of a fulltime academic and personal and social education programme devised to raise these children’s self esteem, get them back on an academic track and return them to school.  Yes, and we recover 95% of these children, returning them to school, helping them into college or into training and employment.

It would be useful if Ofsted were to ask of the school from which children have long-term absence: can you tell me why this child is not at school?

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One Comment
  1. Michael Reiss permalink

    Good suggestion re Ofsted.

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