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Fast Responder service pilot to tackle escalating rates of exclusion from school

8th October 2021

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The news is filled with stories of children being excluded from schoola situation that is particularly bad for children with Special Education Needs. The number of autistic pupils excluded from schools has more than doubled in just seven years. 

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve received a grant from City Bridge Trust to pilot a new service that will help confront the rising rate of exclusion from school of autistic children.

City Bridge Trust logo

A new BBC2 programme, ‘Don’t Exclude Me’, aired on 30th September and 7th October, shared stories from an Essex primary school of pupils, who are facing exclusion, and their teachers. The staff are frustrated at not being able to find the right way to support their pupils to safely stay in school. On the programme, their behaviour lead commented; “It’d be really good almost to have a helpline, to say these are the behaviours we’re seeing with this child, this is what we know about this child, do you have any other suggestions” 

Our Fast Responder service is trialling a solution to this need, funded by a grant of £50,000 from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder, which gives out over £25 million every year to good causes across the capital. We will work with 3 London boroughs, stepping in at the early signs of difficulties and at crisis point, before exclusion, to understand where the challenges are so that the right solutions to support that child can be provided. Participating schools will be able to call the service and have a behaviour specialist visit within 24 hours of the call. The service will offer specialist ‘immediate’ support and intervention, and will work with the pupil, their family and the school staff to set up strategies that the team around the child can deliver to create resilient learners and teachers.   

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said: 

“Anyone who saw the recent BBC documentary cannot fail to have been moved by the immense challenges faced by children with behavioural difficulties, and by their teachers and parents, which are increasingly leading to exclusion from school.  

“Early intervention is key, and this project will play a vital role in addressing these issues by providing children with autism, their teachers and families with the specialist support they need. 

“This kind of intervention can be the difference between children being excluded and being able to remain in mainstream school. If the pilot scheme is successful, this work could have a life-changing impact on children across the UK.” 

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