Schools could be held to account for exclusions, says Hinds

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has pledged to evaluate exclusions, once a review by Edward Timpson’s has concluded early next year.

Hinds wants to create an equality of ambition between mainstream schools and alternative provision in order to improve the educational outcomes for children.

The Government launched an externally-led review by former Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson, to look at how exclusions are used and why certain groups are disproportionally affected.

Speaking at a roundtable on alternative provision at the Centre for Social Justice, Hinds made it clear that schools will still reserve the right to exclude as a last resort, but where pupils are excluded, the quality of education they receive should be no different than in mainstream settings.

Hinds even said he would not rule out legislation to ensure more accountability for schools that permanently exclude children and place them in alternative provision.

He said: "I want to be clear that holding schools to account for the pupils they place in alternative provision and permanently exclude is not off the table.

“But being excluded should never be at the cost of a child’s education. No matter the obstacles they may face or the backgrounds they’re from, we want our young people to receive an education that fosters ambition and a confidence in their abilities.

“The harsh reality is that for parents and carers facing the prospect of their child being placed in alternative provision or permanently excluded, this can be a time of huge anxiety.

“We need to be just as ambitious for pupils in alternative provision as we are for those in mainstream schools – with high quality teaching and education, so parents can feel reassured and positive about their child’s future, despite the difficulties they may have faced.

“Alternative provision can offer a lifeline to these children and their parents, such as smaller classes and more tailored support from teachers, helping them to flourish.”

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