Sadiq Khan launches Inclusion Charter to help tackle rising suspensions and absenteeism
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The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has launched London’s first Inclusion Charter to help tackle rising suspensions and absenteeism in schools.
The charter has been developed by the mayor’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in partnership with young people, schools, parents and carers and education specialists and is centred on inclusive practice.
Government figures show that the equivalent of 1,430 children each day lost learning in London in 2021/22 due to suspension or persistent absenteeism – up 71% on pre-pandemic levels in 2018/19.
The data also reveals that since 2018/19, suspensions in London have increased by 14%, while persistent absenteeism has grown 106%.
An Ofsted report on knife crime also showed children excluded from school were twice as likely to carry a knife, while separate research highlights one in two of the prison population were excluded as children.
The charter which is supported by a new partnership and £1.4m investment with UNICEF UK will provide child rights resources and training to support inclusive practice, learner voice and engagement for all state funded school and education settings in London for the next four years.
Mayor Khan said:“We are seeing suspensions and absenteeism rise both in London and the rest of the country. The equivalent of more than 1,400 children are losing out on
education each day in London alone. That can’t be right. We also know there is a correlation between school exclusions and violence.
“It’s why we are launching London’s Inclusion Charter – the first of its type city-wide. My Violence Reduction Unit has led the way, working in partnership with young people, local authorities and schools to develop a Charter that prioritises education in our city that is fully inclusive, fair and available to all.”
Karen Chamberlain, headteacher at Lillian Bayliss School in Lambeth, said: “Research is clear that being in school, every day, is the best way to maximise a child's chances of the absolute best educational outcomes that, in turn, create the best possible life chances.
“No child ‘deserves’ being excluded, and the reasons a child faces an exclusion must be understood as a product of an environment and circumstances created largely out of their own control. By working on greater inclusion in our systems and structures in schools, as well as supporting our children to become active citizens and advocates, we can all work towards better embodying equity practice.
“I welcome London’s Inclusion Charter in helping towards tackling the underlying causes of children missing out on education to ensure we do the very best by the children that we serve.”
City Hall says 18 boroughs have signed up to the principles of the Charter and the mayor is encouraging all schools and local authorities to sign up.