Chance UK today welcomed the publication of the Commission on Young Lives report which includes calls for:
- A ban on primary school exclusions from 2026, alongside support and resources for schools to provide specialist provision that keeps children on the school roll.
- A new transitional fund and support packages for schools including therapeutic support, educational psychologists, family workers, youth workers and mental health support.
- Teams of youth and community workers in all schools to build relationships and support young people.
Geethika Jayatilaka Chance UK’s CEO said: “We welcome this report that shines a light on the issue of exclusions of primary school aged children.
We are seeing children as young as five years old receive either suspensions or permanent exclusions – so they are falling behind on their education, almost as soon as their school journeys have begun.
When children this young are excluded the negative impact can last a lifetime and that’s why there is an urgent need to tackle primary school suspensions and exclusions.
As this report shows, in the long-term exclusions don’t work because they don’t address the underlying reasons for the difficulties a child may have in class. When you have a five-year old being permanently excluded or a reception aged child suspended 17 times in one year – which has happened to families we support – then something isn’t working. Unless proper support is in place children will simply be passed onto a new school with all the stress and disruption that can cause.
Exclusions are also disproportionately used with Black Caribbean boys and young men as well as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) children, children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and those eligible for free school meals (FSM) – and this needs to be tackled so that the education system is a place where all children can achieve their potential and flourish.
For the past 25 years we have worked with children who have been excluded or are at risk of exclusion and can see that when teachers and schools have the right support in place and work with parents, it can make a real difference to a child’s life. We know there is good practice in schools and it is about supporting all schools to achieve this”.