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By Professor Pamela Munn

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This suggests that while it is the experience of many schools across Scotland that the 'short, sharp shock' of a single exclusion is not effective in changing the behaviour of certain pupils, low excluding schools found single exclusions more effective than schools making frequent use of exclusion. Looking at the number of exclusions (times excluded) is one way of defining high exclusion; another way is to look at the loss of school days per excluded pupil. Of the 1 20 sample schools, 63 had excluded at least one pupil for a total of 21 days or more during the eight months covered by the form.

These studies, therefore, suggest that there are things schools can do to influence the behaviour of pupils. Interventions on school ethos are described in more detail in Chapter 4. Cooper and Upton (1990; Upton and Cooper, 1990; Cooper, 1996) highlight the usefulness of the 'ecosystemic approach' with young people exhibiting emotional and behavioural difficulties. As the label suggests, the approach focuses on systems at school and in the envi­ ronment of the young person in ways which ' are compatible with the humanistic aims of education, which are to facilitate the development of autonomy and self direction in students, and in ways that do not appear to shift the blame for emotional and behavioural difficulties from pupils to their teachers and parents' (Cooper and Upton, 1991 :22).

Stages of exclusion. g. 5 / 10/15 days, 5 / 15/30 days. volume and, by implication, status of policy. Some authorities had fairly voluminous documentation and referred to other policies such as those for special educational needs. Others deliberately eschewed a formal policy statement, relying instead on a standard letter to headteachers. policy aims - all authorities stressed that exclusion was a serious step and should be used as a last resort. However, ten authorities emphasised the overall aim of inclusion, sustaining pupils in mainstream schools; two emphasised the need for accurate record keeping and adherence to the authority's procedures with an eye on legal process.

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