Education Select Committee - AP and Exclusions

The Education Select Committee, a cross party group of MPs, today released a report entitled ‘Forgotten children: alternative provision and the scandal of ever increasing exclusions.’

The report, which follows the release of exclusion figures from the DfE last week, states that too many children are "failed by the system” and that “alternative provision is too often seen as a forgotten part of the education system”.

As well as referring to the general increase in the number of exclusions, both permanent and fixed term, the report also acknowledges that there has been “an alarming increase" in ‘hidden’ exclusions.

Amongst the conclusions and recommendations in the report are the following:

Conclusions

  • ‘Zero tolerance’ behaviour policies may well be contributing to the rise in exclusions
  • A focus on standards and increased pressure on the curriculum is part of the reason why disadvantaged children are over-represented in exclusion statistics
  • The exclusion process is unsupportive of parents and young people and can often be adversarial
  • There is a lack of knowledge about what alternative provision  is actually available in an area

Recommendations:

  • Government and Ofsted should introduce an inclusion measure to encourage greater inclusivity in mainstream settings
  • There needs to be joint responsibility for tackling ‘off rolling’ i.e. Ofsted cannot address the issue alone
  • Pupil Referral Units, along with other forms of alternative provision, have negative connotations for parents which may well discourage them from sending their children there; they should therefore be re-named
  • To aid development and improvement in behaviour and to help reduce the numbers of exclusions, examples of best practice need to be gathered and disseminated along with “dedicated resources and guidance”.

What is perhaps encouraging from the report is that, for the large part, it seems to be in step with discussions and thoughts from the sector. In addition, the recommendations made relating OFSTED, would seem to be timely given the consideration currently been given to a new inspection framework due in September 2019.

In some ways, this report is a prelude to the results from the Timpson Inquiry into exclusions, the results of which are expected later in the year.

Read the report here: ‘Forgotten children: alternative provision and the scandal of ever increasing exclusions.

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