In 1999 we set out, with DfES funding, to find an alternative to permanent school exclusion, and we developed the concepts of community-based inclusion and managed moves. Our preliminary research (2004), found that managed moves were being promoted in about one third of LEAs. This research finds that nearly every Local Authority is doing so, with varying success. In the 2004 report we said: ‘Arranging a managed move’, which government policy now encourages, could lead to unfairness and discrimination unless the approach is introduced strategically, with effective guidance… and transparency.’ This research examines the questions arising from these concerns, and considers how effective managed moves are both as an alternative to permanent exclusion and as one means to reduce school disaffection and poor learning outcomes. We have also reflected and indeed amplified the voices of all the participants, recognising that ‘inclusion’ is a voluntary act and that the inclusive community will only be effective if it brings everyone into the loop.
An effective managed moves process achieves one of the three goals - enabling children to move on without exclusion - which any education community seeking to avoid permanent exclusion must achieve. The other goals are to increase social and educational diversity in schools, reducing the need to move, and to increase alternative learning resources. Inaura summarises this in just 12 words: ‘broaden the schools, build the bridges, find a place for every child.’ The DCSFs strategy seems to be close to this - driving forward a collaborative rather than a competitive agenda, encouraging schools to group together to manage the needs of all the children in each cluster, developing alternative learning and accreditation approaches in and out of school, and promoting more autonomy in cluster funding.
Data was gathered from about 400 individual sources; comprising Head teachers (a short questionnaire), Parents and Children (telephone interviews), and Local Authority officers (by telephone and face-to-face). We wrote to every secondary school in England and Wales, and received replies from about 7%. Schools in England and Wales told us how many managed moves and permanent exclusions they had done in a single calendar year (2006). We made a point of asking schools to participate even if they had done none. 240 Head teachers contributed comments in addition to quantitative data. 35 parents were interviewed but we were only able to reach 30 children by telephone. We interviewed LA officers in depth from across England and Wales. We took advice from many colleagues to all of whom we are indebted. We also talked to police officers, other Agencies, and staff in pupil referral units. In addition collateral data was collected including interviews with pupils, staff in schools and PRUs and extended enquiry with LA officers at all levels to assistant director in five local authorities. All the published research on managed moves we could find is listed in the bibliography.