Speaking Out: Reviewing School Suspension Policy


Beckett, Jonathan, Ph.D.

This book considers the issue of school suspension and expulsion. In so doing it examines the factors contributing to a suspension or expulsion and uses literature and narrative interview data from a range of participants, including staff and students, to elicit some responses from those involved in this process.

The methodology which underpins this project is biographical narrative data obtained from the use of interviews. The rationale of this is that as an educational piece of literature, the use of pupil consultation is heralded as a positive vehicle for developing a mutually agreed behavior policy with clear rewards and sanctions (Kinder and Wilkin, 1998). Moreover, a clearly defined policy that is specific in how school discipline and, where applicable, suspension or expulsion, is to be implemented, incorporating feedback from those directly involved in it, has proved to be an insightful way of revising how those at risk of suspension or expulsion may be more effectively cared for.

            The timely nature of this work is apparent, as most literature is dated and may not reflect current practice. Against this background, this work has found that school behavior policies incorporating suspension are used at times in an arbitrary way and this inconsistency can lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement with schooling. In addition, some students were uninspired by lack of innovative and engaging teaching methodologies and consequently behaved poorly. This allows a clearly transparent behavior policy to be re-worked, which is applied consistently and fairly, and has taken the time to interview and hear the life experiences of those involved and considered the diversities of issues and how a policy may embody the ideas and thoughts and feelings of a range of students and practitioners and be workable and manageable in promoting positive behavior.

            This work has some unique insights and offers tentative generalizability across disciplines (such as social sciences, social work and intervention) and in other settings; although educational research in a single place, its methodology can be applied to other institutions and its conclusions used to develop practice for the benefit of staff and students.

Education, Education Policy, Educational Psychology, Sociology, Psychology, Organizational Research, Organizational Development, Behavioral Research, Pedagogy, Teaching, Primary Education, Secondary Education
Release Date: 
October 15, 2017
Trim Size: 

1727 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 507
Washington, DC 20036