This week, former Government Children's Minister Edward Timpson CBE published a review into school exclusions.
Schools will be made accountable for the pupils they exclude and there will be a clampdown on off-rolling, as part of Government measures taken in response to the Timpson Review of School Exclusion.
The review, published on 7th May, makes 30 recommendations to Government as it highlights variation in exclusions practice across different schools, local authorities and certain groups of children. The report concludes that while there is no optimal number of exclusions, there needs to be action to ensure permanent exclusions are only used as a last resort, where nothing else will do.
The Department for Education agreed to all 30 recommendations in principle, “committing to act to make sure no child misses out on a quality education”.
Commenting on the review, Karin Hutchinson, Lead Wellbeing Adviser at Herts for Learning (HfL), said:
“Permanent exclusion has such an impact on young people’s lives and those of their family members, that we all recognise that it needs to be used only as a last resort. Missing school is often the beginning of a downward spiral of lost learning opportunities from which it is increasingly hard to recover. We know that vulnerability increases for excluded pupils and the Timpson Review has highlighted that many of those who are excluded are already among our most disadvantaged pupils.
“There are clear issues here that require schools’ attention under their Equality Act duties. Traveller pupils are the most likely and Black Caribbean pupils are three times more likely to be excluded. Pupils with SEN are nearly seven times more likely to be permanently excluded and those with an EHCP are six times more likely to be excluded for a fixed term. Boys are three times more likely to receive a fixed term or permanent exclusion.
“The current financial climate, in both schools and the local authority, makes supporting our most challenging pupils a difficult task, and HfL hopes that additional funding will be found. Hertfordshire schools work hard to create safe schools that value diversity and meet the needs of all their children, striving to be in the vast majority of schools who take every possible step to avoid fixed-term and permanent exclusions.
“The government’s response sets out a series of actions that will now follow on from the report’s recommendations. It includes a call to action to reduce exclusions and increase support for challenging pupils. Significantly, there will be an Ofsted focus on identifying any schools deemed to be ‘off-rolling’ to enhance their own statistics.”
HfL‘s wellbeing advisers offer creative, practical and effective approaches to behaviour management. HfL’s Governance Services team aim to meet the needs of governing boards, individual governors, trustees and members, in the light of national legislation and guidance.
Read the full report: Timpson Review of School Exclusion.