Landmark review on school exclusions – what schools and colleges need to know
The Government has responded to the Timpson review of school exclusions, which highlighted the need to ensure that schools use their powers to exclude children correctly. It has accepted all the Timpson review’s recommendations in principle and has set out how it plans to support children, schools and alternative provision providers.
Overall, the Government is not proposing any drastic changes to the existing laws or practices on exclusions. However, it is focusing on understanding why schools exclude children and ensuring that schools remain accountable for excluded children so exclusion remains a last resort.
Despite committing to providing greater clarity for school leaders, the Government’s proposals are quite woolly and vague in places. The key proposals that should be on your school’s radar are:
- Clearer and more consistent guidance by Summer 2020. The Government will make its guidance clearer by returning to using the terms “suspension” and “expulsion” instead of calling them “fixed term” and “permanent” exclusions. The guidance will also make it clear that schools should share data on exclusions so they can identify trends. The Government will also provide updated guidance for governors and for parents, as well as an updated SEND Code of Practice by the end of 2020
- Sharing exclusions data to identify trends. The review highlighted that 78% of exclusions were children with special educational needs, in need or eligible for free school meals. Certain ethnicities are also more likely to be at risk. Going forwards, governing bodies, academy trusts, local forums of schools and Directors of Children’s Services will need to review information on excluded children to identify local trends. Schools will no longer be able to use the code “other” to record why they excluded a child. As a result, they will be able to gain more insight into the complex causes of exclusions.
- Establishing a practice programme and more support for alternative provision. The Government will set up a practice programme that establishes effective partnership working between local authorities, schools, alternative provision and other partners. The aim is for schools to intervene early for children at risk of exclusion and support those who are excluded. The Government will set out plans in the Autumn on how it will support alternative provision. There is also currently a call for evidence on how to improve the SEND and alternative provision financial arrangements in England to better support children and young people. This closes on 31 July 2019
- More training. The Government will reform training for new teachers by offering improved training on managing behaviour through the Early Career Framework. There will also be a Special Educational Needs Coordinator induction pack and guidance for school leaders. The Government will also support schools and colleges in training a Designated Senior Lead for mental health for free
You can access the Timpson Review and the Government’s response here
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