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.