Nakailah's story
28 Feb 2023

In 2022, I was involved in a serious incident involving over 30 other students. Out of the large group, I was the only person from my school who got permanently excluded.

I was considered the angry Black girl that needed to be removed. My grades were more than good, but they were still so fast in removing me from the school. From that life-changing moment, I have never been the same mentally.

My home life was never good, even before the exclusion. I was between different homes and different people. After the exclusion happened, I lived with other people more than I lived with my own mum. My home-life experience has placed a huge impact on my life and the way I have lived.


Supportive environments in school are important because students like me, and those who have been removed from mainstream schools, need support from people who genuinely care about us. This means not being looked at differently due to your colour, sexuality or religion; it’s being treated like a human being.

To reduce exclusions, schools need to focus on students’ mental health. Secondary school is one of the biggest life challenges; it’s a time of stress and pressure.

I understand mainstream schools have a lot of students to consider. However, a handful of them are picked out for behaviour which most likely has a root cause. Rather than pushing badly behaved students away, when it comes to vulnerable students, it is about listening and taking the time to empathise with their feelings and emotions.

Being in an alternative provision school has shown me how to understand and aid vulnerable students. Fortunately, those students who were once considered to be vulnerable are now some of the most confident and positive people.

So, my final statement is that you just need to believe in your students and focus on allowing them to be themselves, to nurture their talents and always support them to see that there is a future beyond exclusion.

16, London