Dear Gavin Williamson, writes Michael Rosen, broadcaster and writer of many children’s books in the Guardian,
Your focus on exclusions caught my eye, because in March I read a report from the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) that showed “there is a significant increase in pupil referral unit admissions in the first term of year 11”. As year 11 is when students take GCSEs, this statistic suggests some schools might be removing students just prior to their sitting these exams. Could it be that some schools improve their GCSE scores by shedding pupils? Clearly, if we have a school system that is judged primarily on its exam scores, the pressure on schools to exclude pupils is high.
It is not the only way to judge a school. Utopian that I am, I could imagine a system in which there could be a high rating for schools that held on to vulnerable or challenging pupils, enabling them to get even a minimum qualification.
I hope you are working to find out whether there is the possibility that academies are excluding pupils (fixed-term or permanently) at a faster rate than local authority schools. Could it be that the solution you are proposing for excluded pupils – namely setting up free schools – was partly caused by the creation of the academy system, of which the free schools are a part?
Read the full article Dear Gavin Williamson, outsourcing excluded pupils to new free schools won’t help
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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