Case Studies

The Difference is raising the status and expertise of working with the most vulnerable learners. This includes celebrating the work of AP schools. If you are a journalist who would like to cover school exclusion, get in touch.

How does unofficial exclusion blight lives? Fiona Millar investigates.

“Hope was a high-achieving teenager with a string of good GCSEs and an optimistic future. … But, in the first year of her A-levels, her mental health deteriorated. She suffered psychotic episodes, which culminated in a period as a hospital in-patient. When Hope returned to school, the head of the sixth form told her the school could no longer meet her needs and she should move elsewhere…”

Ben, excluded at 13, tells his story to the BBC.

“I was a little shit back then, when I was younger. I was excluded from class every day, I never behaved, I never listened. I walked out of my lessons and I never followed instructions. Halfway through Year 8, I was excluded from my school permanently. That was before I got my diagnoses and my tablets for ADHD.”

What is it like in the biggest PRU in the country? The Guardian finds out.

“In a modest brick building in a residential street in Blackpool, a girl wearing over-the-knee white socks and patent leather T-bar shoes is reflecting on what went wrong at secondary school. … Her biggest issue, she says, is that she gets angry. She lists what she needs – time out, calm, rewards to encourage her, more sleep and praise from her teachers. Finally she says: “Maybe if I lived with my dad I’d be happier.”

Thinking differently about pupils vulnerable to crime. Rachel Sylvester investigates.

“Ali left last year with six GCSEs and is now studying at college. ‘I was an angry kid,’ he says. ‘When I was young, I had lots of fights… I had family troubles and there were always problems on my estate, with the other gangs coming around. I’d carry a knife for protection. … If I am honest, if I hadn’t come here I could have ended up in prison or I could have just been on the streets right now, doing nothing with myself. Everything I was doing was negative, but here, instead of getting rid of me, they said “We’re going to help change you and make you the boy that you actually are.”

Inside a Pupil Referral Unit. Victoria Derbyshire speaks to students and staff at Hawkswood primary.