A total of 57 schools have applied for our £1 million fund to help them develop on-site pupil inclusion units and cut exclusions to a minimum.
A far greater number than expected of London secondary schools came forward, with many heads seeking to cut high exclusion rates and find progressive ways of supporting vulnerable pupils and improving life chances.
Our campaign, The Excluded, was launched in January and offered eligible schools a chance to apply for grants of up to £150,000 per school over three years.
Our initiative was inspired by the success of The Base inclusion unit at Dunraven School in Lambeth and by nurture units at mainstream schools in Glasgow that promote a supportive, inclusive learning environment with excellent results.
The £1 million raised comprises £500,000 from John Lyon’s Charity, a leading funder for young people in north and west London, and £500,000 from Martin Moshal, a tech philanthropist, whose funds will be administered by The London Community Foundation.
Dr Lynne Guyton, chief executive of John Lyon’s, said: “We are very pleased with the number of schools that have expressed an interest. It shows pupil exclusion is a significant issue facing many secondary schools in London.
"It also demonstrates the resilience of headteachers looking for alternative, open-minded approaches.”
Mr Moshal said: “I am delighted with the great response as it indicates how seriously schools are taking this issue and recognises the need for alternative approaches with both an individual pupil and broader school and societal impact in mind.
"Hopefully other funders will join in to ensure more applicants can benefit from this campaign.”
Kate Markey, chief executive of The London Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted at the response from schools wanting to partner the Evening Standard’s Excluded initiative to improve inclusion rates.
"From the applications received, there is clearly an appetite and commitment from schools to help pupils at risk.”
The next step is for JLC and LCF to begin assessing applications with JLC assessing the 21 schools that have applied from their area of north and west London and LCF assessing the remaining 36.
Schools taken forward to the next stage will be visited to discuss their project in greater detail.
Schools will then be shortlisted, with a final decision in April.