Why this ‘School to Prison' Tube line is popping up on GCSE results day
Posters have been going up on the Tube system in London highlighting the bleak future faced by many young people excluded from the education system.
While thousands of teenagers all over the country are anxiously collecting their GCSE results, almost all of those kicked out at a young age will never hold academic qualifications.
Around 40 posters were pasted up on the Northern line featuring a satirical line called the “School to Prison Line” – mapping the route from exclusion to prison.
They read: “Sent out of class; detention; isolation; temporary exclusion; permanent exclusion pupil referral unit; young offenders institution; prison; reoffending.”
The bottom half of the design is a broken line with the words “Line closed indefinitely: Empathy, support, success.”
Next to the map, the poster says: “Today is GCSE results day. While most pupils across the country are excitedly awaiting news about their future, thousands remain left behind.
“Every day, 35 students (a full classroom) are permanently excluded from school. Only 1% of them will go on to get the five good GCSEs they need to succeed.”
The data came from a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, a left-leaning think tank, published last year.
It found 63% of prisoners reported being excluded from school, and 42% of this figure had been permanently excluded.
“It is the most disadvantaged children who are disproportionately punished by the system,” the poster continued. “We deserve better.
“We are a group of South London students who believe in empathy not exclusion. We demand a more compassionate education system with a supportive approach to behaviour and discipline.”
One of the students behind the campaign said they wanted to see more teachers and teaching assistants in schools tackling disruptive behaviour before it gets out of hand.
The student, who wished to remain anonymous, said black boys, other ethnic minorities and children with special educational needs were the most likely to be excluded.
She told the Press Association: “We want to see more funding, more teachers and more teaching assistants especially, that way there isn’t a ratio of 35 students to one adult.
“It means if a child is distracted there’s someone there to deal with it.”
The group, who call themselves Education Not Exclusion, want to see more emphasis on pastoral care and more awareness from school governors and the Department of Education.
The spokeswoman added: “Fourteen is the average age that students are excluded and put into pupil referral.
“At 14 all you’ve got to go by in your world is what your parents or your teachers tell you – we don’t think kids are getting the support they need.
“Schools don’t have the facilities or the resources and kids are being punished for things they have no control over.
“You don’t have control over your economic background, or your family or your mental health.”