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 exclusions. GOV.UK reports.
The review, published yesterday (7 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.
Analysis shows 85% of all mainstream schools not expelling a single child in 2016/17, but 0.2% of schools having expelled more than ten pupils in the same year.
Vulnerable groups of children are more likely to be excluded, with 78% of permanent exclusions issued to children who had special educational needs (SEN), or classified as in need or eligible for free school meals. Certain ethnic groups, including Bangladeshi and Indian pupils, have lower rates of exclusion than White British pupils, with the analysis also finding some ethnic groups, such as Black Caribbean and Mixed White and Black Caribbean pupils, experiencing higher rates, after controlling for other factors.
Edward Timpson CBE said: “No parent sends their child off to school believing they will end up being excluded but when this does happen we all need to be confident we have a well-functioning system that makes sure no child slips through the net. Exclusion from school should never mean exclusion from education.”
“We expect school leaders to make sure all children are getting a good education, but we must equip them with the skills and capacity to do so. We need to reward schools who are doing this well and hold to account those who are not. Most importantly there must be safeguards in place for when things go wrong so that we can keep children on the path towards the successful future they all deserve.”
The Department for Education welcomed the review and agreed to all 30 recommendations in principle, committing to act to make sure no child misses out on a quality education.
Addressing Edward Timpson’s recommendation that changes should be made to strengthen accountability around the use of exclusions, the Government announced that it will launch a consultation later this year.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Exclusion should not be considered the end point for any child; it has to be the start of something new and positive – with alternative provision offering smaller class sizes and tailored support.”
The new Ofsted framework will also contribute to a clampdown on off-rolling by requiring inspectors to question schools where there are signs of it, and instruct them to report where pupils are taken off-roll primarily in the interests of the school rather than the pupil.
Further key measures being taken forward by the Government in response to the review include:
Making early intervention the norm
Bringing together education providers and councils so that schools are better equipped to take action early and provide the right support for children at risk of exclusion.
Calling on leaders to work together
Taking action on concerning variation in exclusion rates among certain groups of children. School leaders, governing bodies and Directors of Children’s Services should collect and share data to help understanding of how exclusion is used in local areas, assess and act to reduce disparities, with particular reference to certain ethnic groups, those with special educational needs, or those who have a social worker.
New analysis conducted for the Review shows that some pupil and school characteristics are associated with greater risk of exclusion, even after controlling for other factors which could influence exclusions. In particular:
- 78% of pupils who are permanently excluded either have SEN, are classified as in need or are eligible for free school meals. 11% of permanently excluded children have all three characteristics.
- Boys with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) but no statement were around 3.8 times more likely to be permanently excluded than a non-SEN child while girls were around 3.0 times more likely after controlling for other factors.
- Disadvantage is strongly associated with exclusion, after controlling for other pupil characteristics. Children in receipt of Free School Meals were around 45% more likely to be excluded than other pupils.
Read much more about the review, it’s findings and proposed reforms Edward Timpson publishes landmark exclusions review