The CSJ backed IntegratED partnership launches first review of exclusions
by James Scales, CSJ Head of Education policy
Some of our most vulnerable pupils are sliding into our peripheral vision, where their prospects hang by a thread.
For excluded children, the future looks desperately challenging. Many go to non-mainstream, alternative provision (AP) schools where under half take GCSEs in English and maths, and just 4 per cent get a standard pass in both. Half do not progress to sustained education, employment or training.
What lurks behind most exclusions is a tough backstory involving complex, unresolved challenges: crumbling home environments, personal trauma, special educational needs – the list goes on.
Moved by the urgent need to address these outcomes, we have campaigned for earlier intervention to prevent avoidable exclusions – far before pupils reach crisis point. We have also called for better alternative provision (AP) where it is needed, as we should be ambitious for children even if exclusion cannot be avoided.
Many others share our goals, and we are proud to have teamed up with 19 organisations to form the ‘IntegratED’ partnership. Last week we launched our inaugural annual report.
Our study addresses a key problem in this area; namely, that we lack a clear understanding of how and why pupils are excluded, what they then do, and whether they are being educated properly. Our ‘state of the nation’ splices the information that does exist. We highlight the many ways pupils can tumble out of mainstream education and find that pupils with social, emotional and mental health challenges are particularly prone to permanent exclusion.
We also explore the many different types of AP that exist, and expose a rise in unregulated AP where at least 6,000 pupils are now being educated without meaningful oversight regarding their safety.
Our report also reviews policy changes that were enacted last year. And ones that were not. We are particularly concerned that only four of the 30 recommendations put forward by Edward Timpson MP, in his government-commissioned review, have actually made it across the line.
Thankfully, exclusions are now receiving more air time in Westminster and Whitehall, and we highlight the admirable work done by MPs and peers in this area.
But the truth is that we have a long way to go. With that in mind, our report highlights ongoing research and clear opportunities to make progress in 2021. This time next year, we hope to bring you better news.
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