Educational failure has a crushing impact on a child’s future. Lower qualifications depress earning potential and make unemployment more likely, while low basic skills are linked with poor home learning environments.

Disadvantaged pupils are particularly susceptible to educational failure. On average, they are 18 months behind when they take their GCSEs, and almost two thirds do not achieve passes in English and maths GCSEs. A child in one of England’s poorest areas is 10 times more likely to go to a substandard school than one in its richest areas. And for most, higher education remains a faint prospect, particularly in the top third of universities.

For children excluded from school, reality is bleaker still. Just 4.3 per cent of pupils in alternative providers pass English and maths GCSEs, and almost half do not progress to a sustained destination. Meanwhile, 58 per cent of young adults in prison were permanently excluded at school.

But it is not just school-age pupils we must support. Millions of adults, too, need help to upskill and reskill. Around 6 million are not qualified to level 2 (GCSE level), and our jobs market is rapidly being remoulded by technology and the world economy.

All of these challenges together constitute a social injustice, but also an economic threat as we deprive our country of considerable and diverse talent.

In response to some of these challenges, our education system is currently undergoing extensive and widespread reform, the full effects of which will not be felt for some time. In the meantime, there is work to do and so the CSJ has established a permanent Education Unit within its policy team. Its projects to date include:

  • A review of school exclusions and alternative provision, and a three-year project to build on our initial work and to campaign for far-reaching reform.
  • A partnership with Save the Children UK, examining the barriers to high-quality childcare for low income families.
  • A review of lifelong learning and a study on access to higher education for disadvantaged pupils.
  • An analysis of apprenticeships policy exploring how we can extend these opportunities to more people by addressing the challenges that exist in the system.
  • An upcoming project on literacy and numeracy. Around a third of pupils fail to pass both English and maths GCSEs at 16, and 9 million adults have low functional literacy or numeracy.

Partnered charities: 


About the APPG

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on School Exclusions and Alternative Provision is a group of 11 MPs and Peers set up to improve outcomes for vulnerable children by facilitating upstream working to reduce preventable exclusions and improve the quality of education for children excluded from school.

The Centre for Social Justice is providing secretariat to the APPG for School Exclusions and Alternative Provision.

Follow the APPG on twitter @APPGexclusionAP

Officers of the APPG

Chair: Andy Carter MP

Co-Chair: Lord Storey

Vice-Chair: Lord Knight, Sally-Ann Hart MP, Jonathan Gullis MP

Officers: Miriam Cates MP, Sarah Jones MP

Members: Edward Timpson MP, Robert Halfon MP, Kim Johnson MP, Lord Addington, Baroness Estelle Morris

Forthcoming meetings


Past meetings

Tuesday 24th November 2020 | 1:30-3pm

Click here: Agenda for 24th November 2020 meeting

Click here: Re-watch livestream

Monday 12th October 2020 | 2-3pm

Click here: Agenda for 12th October 2020 meeting


Top Stats for Education

  1. A child from one of our poorest areas is 27 times more likely to attend a school rated ‘inadequate’ than a child in one of our wealthiest areas.
  2. For those who left education with no/low-level, qualifications, adult learning can offer a way back. Working adults with basic digital skills are paid an average annual salary that is 50% higher than those without these skills.
  3. Only 12.3% of the most disadvantaged pupils in England access full-time higher education by the age of 19.

Latest published reports on Education

Lost but not forgotten: the reality of severe absence in schools post-lockdown.
Kids can’t catch up if they don’t show up
Trade Secrets: How to reboot apprenticeships and kick-start the recovery
Catch them before they fall: What works in supporting vulnerable children to stay in education
See all reports

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