Schools will be ‘responsible for excluded pupils’

A government review has said that schools will need to remain accountable for any excluded pupils and their subsequent exam results.

The recommendation is for schools in England and is aimed at bringing to an end so-called ‘off rolling’ where a school may remove low achieving or difficult pupils.

Now, the report’s recommendations could see school league table rankings including the exam results of those excluded pupils and for those pupils who have been moved elsewhere.

The report’s author Edward Timpson said: “Exclusion from school should not mean exclusion from education.”

The report has been endorsed by Damian Hinds, the education secretary, who is now promising greater clarity for those schools who are inappropriately using exclusions.

The outcome of excluded pupils

He added that a consultation later this year will see how schools could be held accountable, including for their league tables, for the outcome of excluded pupils.

Former education minister Mr Timpson says there is room for improvement in pupil arrangements for those who have been excluded.

Among the concerns is over alternative provision quality which sees pupils being taught after they have been removed from a mainstream school.

Mr Timpson says there is ‘too much variation’ in exclusion use – and ‘too many missed opportunities’.

Every day, it has been calculated that around 2,000 pupils are being excluded and, of these, 40 are permanently excluded.

The exclusion rates are increasing

The numbers have been increasing since 2014 and while the exclusion rates are high, they are lower than they were 10 years ago.

Around three-quarters of those being permanently excluded are for those who are eligible for free school meals or have special needs.

Also, black Caribbean pupils tend to be more likely to be excluded from school than their white British counterparts.

Now the review calls for an approach to ensure that ‘no child slips through the net’.

The right of headteachers to exclude pupils

The review has been welcomed by the Association of School and College Leaders and its head, Geoff Barton, says that the right of headteachers to exclude pupils has been supported by the government.

He also asks whether it is reasonable for schools to be accountable in league tables for any pupils it excluded for several years after they have left a school.

Mr Barton said: “It’s vital that new accountability measures are supported and trusted by schools.”

The National Education Union has also said that more attention needs to be given on what is behind exclusions and this may include reductions in the special needs budget.

Paul Whiteman, of the National Association of Headteachers, says that exclusions have to be seen in the context of funding pressures on social services and schools.

He added: “Having more support for schools, rather than sanctions, will make a difference for pupils who are at risk of exclusion.”

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