The Department of Education has today released its Timpson Review into school exclusions. The report was commissioned to explore how exclusions are used in practice, to ensure they are used appropriately across the UK, and to explore why some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded. The report also addresses off-rolling, where students are removed from the school roll in order to minimise the impact on the school’s exam results.
Thirty recommendations have been made, including that head teachers should maintain responsibility for pupils’ academic attainment when they are referred to alternative provision schools, and that permanent exclusions are only to be used as a last resort where there is no other alternative.
Catch22 provides approximately 1,000 alternative provision school placements across England and Wales and Chief Executive Chris Wright welcomes the report:
“The Timpson Review recommendations are based on real world evidence and will help correct the perverse incentives in the current system that risk some pupils to be ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
“For most children who have been excluded from school, the shared goal should be to support them to return to mainstream education in some form. Alternative and mainstream schools need to work hand in hand to achieve this.
“Our experience shows that high-quality, well-resourced alternative schools can tackle the underlying issues that lead to poor behaviour and enable young people to get their lives back on track. Maintaining the involvement of mainstream head teachers throughout the process undoubtedly leads to better outcomes.”
David Moran, Head Teacher of Catch22’s Ashwood Academy in Basingstoke, believes the report is a move in the right direction:
“Every day we see the impact school exclusions have on a child’s mental health and the wellbeing of the child’s family.
“Today’s report confirms what we already are seeing – that the majority of exclusions are issued to children with special educational needs (SEN), or those classified as in need or eligible for pupil premium. All too often, exclusion can exacerbate problems that children and their families are struggling to cope with.
“Mainstream schools want to do more to support children needing additional assistance, however funding remains a significant issue.
“With action following this report and further collaborative work between mainstream and alternative schools, I hope we will see more support for our most vulnerable children and their families.”