A group of south London students have used the London Underground to make a powerful and subversive statement about exclusions on GCSE results day. A Tube map from “school to prison” could be seen on Northern Line trains, shining a spotlight on the number of pupils permanently excluded from school each day. The satirical poster shows a direct line from “sent out of class”, stopping at “permanent exclusion” and with “prison” as its final destination. The line also includes the stops “empathy”, “support” and “success” – all of which are “closed indefinitely”.
“School to prison line” – powerful protest stickers on the Northern Line this morning, drawing attention to reduced life chances for those permanently excluded from school #gcseresultsday #educationnotexclusion pic.twitter.com/Ml1YBjrPVk
— Samira Shackle (@samirashackle) August 23, 2018
Accompanying the “school to prison line” was the following message from the young activists:
“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 one per cent of them will go on to get the five good GCSEs they need to succeed. It is the most disadvantaged children who are disproportionately punished by the system. We deserve better.”
Brilliant ad-hack showing how exclusion sets young people on the school to prison line . It impacts black, brown and poor white students. I would go beyond the ask and call for funding for education alternatives to mainstream schooling and education reform #educationnotexclusion pic.twitter.com/NPZ89ZtWZa
— Deirdre⭐Dee⭐Woods (@Didara) August 23, 2018
Thousands of people took to social media this morning to share the pictures with the hashtag #EducationNotExclusion, and express their admiration for the pop-up protest. Commuters praised the guerrilla protest campaign with Twitter user Choco Milo saying: ‘Am I the only one seeing these School to Prison pipeline posters on the Tube this morning? so happy that someone has finally done the work to bring awareness to the problem of exclusion.’
The Advocacy Academy tweeted: ‘This is LIT! South London students are killing it. Fo sho we need more compassion in our education system. Such an crucial reminder that thousands of students are already screwed by #gcseresultday.’
Brilliant to see a group of South London students getting their voices heard on @TfL #NorthernLine this morning. Such a positive use of a scary day, you can't grade that kind of clever! #EducationNotExclusion #GCSEresultsday pic.twitter.com/FQKvrwUT3V
— Rose Warlord (tick) (@RoseWardlaw) August 23, 2018
In March this year Edward Timpson CBE, the former Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families who is leading the Department for Education’s exclusions review, outlined the struggles excluded children face in the UK. He said: ‘In 2015/16 6,685 children in England were excluded, for some groups of children, including black Caribbean and Gypsy Roma and Traveller children, those with special educational needs, pupils eligible for free school meals, children in need and those in care, the rates of exclusion were much higher.’
A somewhat brilliant Ad-Hack I think with brilliant timing to highlight the discriminatory effect of school exclusions. What do you think?