It was a huge pleasure to welcome John Edwards, RSC for the East Midlands and Humber, to Archway Learning Trust this month. John’s trip was centred around the work that Archway undertakes as part of its inclusion agenda. Archway has been a part of the Local Authority’s pilot to avoid all permanent exclusions for the last two years. Prior to this the work of the Archway schools always meant that permanent exclusions were rare so that at two of our five schools there has not been a permanent exclusion for over six years. John was especially interested in Bluecoat Beechdale and how they had been able to improve from special measures to good, whilst not permanently excluding high levels of students.
Archway has many inspirational staff who believe deeply that when a child leaves a school as an exclusion statistic we have failed. These staff have now created two internal on site provisions for the students who face multiple challenges with their learning and also one off site provision. We were delighted that John was able to visit all of these provisions and talk to the students who have managed to turn their lives around thanks to the help of a well-trained and dedicated staff team who despite many ups and downs have never lost faith in our young people. This year we see one of our most troubled youngsters fighting against all the odds to sit seven GCSEs instead of being permanently excluded and being four times more likely to end up in prison. Surely this is a challenge all school leaders should be facing head on and I am grateful that our local RSC is backing schools who take on this battle in spite and in full knowledge of the likely impact on outcomes. Thank you!