Seeking a balance: Conversations with policy makers and influencers about intervening upstream to prevent school exclusions in the context of Covid-19 and beyond

As schools get underway with the COVID-19 recovery phase in England, there is growing consensus among practitioners and policy professionals that rebuilding based on pre-COVID specifications will lead to the re-establishment of a previously broken system; a system which saw the most vulnerable children and young people in society slipping through the cracks.

In 2016/17, 97.4% of all pupils permanently excluded in the UK were from schools in England (McCluskey et al. 2019). This report outlines insights from policy makers and influencers about the need for contextual safeguarding aimed at reducing school exclusion. This requires a strategic approach to better meet the needs of vulnerable pupils, stem the rising tide of formal, informal and self-exclusion, and ensure that the four pillars of the Department for Education’s (DfE) recovery plan – Attainment, Attendance, Safeguarding and Wellbeing – are met for all children and young people in the context of COVID-19 and beyond.

The report is linked to two further documents, Getting the balance right and Restoring the balance, which outline policy recommendations and justifications for collective responsibility in the context of COVID-19.

  • Alice Tawell
  • Hilary Emery
  • Harry Daniels
  • Ian Thompson
  • Jill Porter


Download publication