Supporting all young children to succeed at school: nurtureuk responds to COYL report

29 April 2022

A series of stories about young children being repeatedly failed by the education system make for some shocking reading.

The tales have been included in a vital new report launched by the Commission on Young Lives that calls for a ban on primary school exclusions. 

All Together Now: Inclusion not exclusion contains sobering statistics relating to the high number of children in England excluded from school. It looks at how thousands of vulnerable children are falling through gaps in the education system, putting them at risk not only of low attainment but also serious violence, county lines, criminal exploitation, grooming and harm.

nurtureuk has long called for an inclusive education system that prioritises wellbeing and seeks to reduce exclusions. We’re delighted to see direct reference in this new report to the transformational work we’re carrying out with the London Violence Reduction Unit – supporting schools to develop a whole school nurturing approach. 

As All Together Now so clearly demonstrates, exclusions do not work. They do not improve behaviour and almost always lead to poor academic outcomes for children. 

In cases where challenging behaviour is directly linked to trauma and adverse experiences like separation from family, exposure to family conflict, parental substance abuse exposure and maternal depression, excluding pupils simply confounds the problem and isolates them further – exacerbating feelings of rejection and resulting in marginalisation. 

Excluded young people are more likely to go to prison, be unemployed and develop severe mental health issues. A new approach is urgently needed, one that actively addresses the underlying causes of exclusions and works to reduce them. And of course, teachers need to be properly supported and resourced in order to implement this. 

We’re delighted to see repeated references to nurture within this new report, including a key recommendation that specialist nurture programmes are brought into primary and secondary schools to replace in-school alternative provision.

We couldn’t agree more. Nurture is transformational and it is improving the life chances of some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.

The nurturing approach offers a range of opportunities for children and young people to engage with missing early nurturing experiences, giving them the social and emotional skills to do well at school and with peers, develop their resilience and their capacity to deal more confidently with the trials and tribulations of life, for life.

We are committed to bringing nurture and all its benefits to schools across the UK. Let’s support our children to thrive. 

Arti Sharma 

Chief Executive Officer, nurtureuk