- Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, and Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, respond to Government review of school exclusions.
- The National Children’s Bureau, the Association of School and College Leaders and IPSEA, have published a guide to the legal and unlawful use of exclusions and other practices such as off-rolling. Schools, parents, and pupils alike will benefit from clear information about their legal powers and rights.
Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said:
“The Timpson Review of exclusions comes at crucial time for our most vulnerable children: permanent exclusions are on the rise; a growing number of children are being educated in pupil referral units; and an increasing number of parents are seeing home education as the only option for their child with special educational needs.
“The Review has shone an important light on the more shadowy practices in our education system. It has made important recommendations about greater monitoring of schools’ use of alternative provision, better recording of why a child leaves a school, and stronger checks carried out during Ofsted inspections for off-rolling. We welcome the government’s indication that they will accept these recommendations and urge them to set out a clear timeframe for implementation.
"But our most vulnerable children have been falling through the gaps in our school system for too long, with too little attention paid to the quality of their education or the arrangements in place to safeguard them. The time is now right for the government to set out a clear vision for all our children. We are calling on the Department for Education to:
- Re-state its commitment to a mainstream school system that values the worth and contribution of all children, and takes a whole-school approach to the good mental health and well-being of all children and school staff;
- Begin a meaningful debate about the future roles and responsibilities of local authorities, academies and maintained schools in educating our most vulnerable children;
- Acknowledge that the rising numbers of exclusions are a symptom of wider problems that children’s services are facing - rising child poverty, a social care system that is on the brink of collapse, and less support for children with special educational needs - and put children at the heart of the upcoming spending review.”
Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, was an independent member of the advisory group to the Review. She said:
“I welcome this important review. All children, whatever their needs, are entitled to an education which gives them the best outcomes. This review takes a serious look at making that happen and supporting schools and local authorities as partners in the process. I look forward to seeing its recommendations translate into full implementation.”
Read our guide to the different type of exclusions, including off-rolling and other unlawful practices: ‘Exclusions – What is legal?’