On Human Rights Day (10 December), EachOther will release ‘Excluded’ – a documentary which amplifies the voices of young people affected by school exclusions. Meg Thomas, head of policy at Scottish youth and family support charity Includem, looks at how the lives of young people who took part in the documentary were changed.
Earlier this year, five Includem young people took the brave step of sharing their experiences of being excluded from school with EachOther.
A filming schedule had been set up just before the pandemic began to spread in the UK.
But, when it came time to share their stories, it was in the middle of lockdown. Schools and colleges were shut and each of them felt further from education than ever before. They felt disconnected from everyone.
Instead of filming in person, EachOther’s creative director Dr Sarah Wishart and filmmaker Anna Merryfield ran collaborative online workshops. They also posted our young people – who wished to remain anonymous – recording equipment so they could capture their own stories. Unable to film, graphic artist Jon Sack was then commissioned to create stunning illustrations to portray them in the forthcoming documentary.
Each young person was keen to tell their story. They hoped that by telling their story schools would understand more about their experiences and why they struggled to behave in the expected way. They hoped that schools would learn from their experiences and support young people with different methods.
What they gained was so much more.