School pupil sitting on chair in corridor, excluded from school

The Plymouth Institute of Education’s Xclusions Lab was created in recognition that policies related to social and educational inclusion or inclusive education are failing many children, young people, and adults. 

Analyses of structural relations, systemic pressures and routine practices in educational settings confirm that the goal of equitable provision and educational outcomes has yet to be realised and that this is a global problem. 
The Xclusions Lab will be organising a programme of public events in 2024. We hope that you will join us and share your ideas related to reducing school exclusions and exclusionary practices to improve the experience of children and young people at risk of social marginalisation. 
Please email Dr Elizabeth Done if you have any questions or would like to suggest a topic for the event programme. 

The Xclusions Lab – In Conversation with 

This series of conversations has been designed as a platform to showcase research and scholarship on the topic of school exclusions from a range of academics and professionals from across the UK and internationally. By sharing this work we hope to challenge exclusionary practices in schools and to provoke a different way of thinking about education that is inclusive for all learners and flexible enough to support the needs of all individuals. 

Conversation one: Sarah Martin-Denham

Sarah is an Associate Professor of Care and Education at the University of Sunderland. Sarah's research focuses on school exclusion and childhood adversities with a particular interest in the lived experiences of school exclusion through collaborating with children and families to share their experiences through the #pullupachair series of films.

Conversation two: Elizabeth Done

Dr Elizabeth J. Done is a senior lecturer at the University of Plymouth. Her research focus is exclusionary practices in education, theorising exclusionary practices, and research collaborations around current exclusionary educational practices. Elizabeth specializes in inclusion/exclusion, critical theory and teachers’ professional development, supervising doctoral students researching inclusion-related topics and leading modules related to inclusive education. Key interests include poststructuralist and posthumanist theory, exclusionary practices, and educators' negotiation of conflicting governmental imperatives.

Conversation three: Vicky Bamsey

Vicky is an Associate Professor at the University of Plymouth with a research interest in educational effectiveness and improvement, particularly for children in the early years. Vicky’s research focuses on questioning education, what education means, what it looks like and where it takes place. Her background is in early years education, and she has worked for some twenty years in early years settings, as a Childcare Development Worker and Early Years Consultant and now as a lecturer in early years and education. Her research interests are varied and include alternative education and special educational needs and inclusion with a focus on how individuals intra-act within society explored through a Vygotskian lens of human activity.

Our research team

Dr Elizabeth Done is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Education at the University of Plymouth and founder of the Xclusions Lab. 
Elizabeth has led multiple studies related to exclusionary practices in schools and has published widely on this topic, including a 2023 Special Issue in Emotional, Behavioural Difficulties. She is lead editor of two Palgrave-Springer collected works (published January 2023, and forthcoming) that concern exclusionary pressures from an intersectional perspective in different contexts globally. 
Dr Vicky Bamsey of the Plymouth Institute of Education, is co-founder of the Lab.  Her interest is in the lived experience and affective impact of exclusionary practices on children and young people and theorising such experience through relevant Vygotskian concepts.  

Exclusionary practice and the role of the SENCo

Watch Elizabeth J.Done and Helen Knowler's keynote speech.  
South West SENCO Conference
16 March 2023

Exploring exclusionary practices in education through Vygotsky’s socio-cultural activity theory 

This paper draws on Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory of individual activity as a framework for thinking about exclusionary practices in education. I argue that a focus on quantitative data such as pupil progress, achievement and school attendance neglects the needs of the individual, their history and experiences outside of school. Vygotsky argues that our thoughts and activity are a product of our own history and social experiences in relation to the environment. It is this entangled nature of human activity that really matters; how we make sense of the world, respond to a situation, and how our response is then interpreted by those around us. The intra-actions that arise between educators, children, families and the environment can change the way we think about education and thus how we act. Meaning is iteratively reconfigured, and mutually constituted through activity, providing a framework for thinking that (re)positions education as so much more than statistics; that is, as a human endeavour that connects the past, present and future through relationships between individuals, their history and their environment.