Schools should be more accountable for pupils they exclude, review claims

School league table rankings may have to include the results of excluded pupils in an effort to crac

School league table rankings may have to include the results of excluded pupils in an effort to crack down on inappropriate exclusions, following a government-backed review by Edward Timpson. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Schools should stay accountable for the outcomes of pupils they exclude, a government-baked report has claimed.

In an effort to clamp down on 'off-rolling', where schools remove difficult or low-achieving pupils, it could mean that school league table rankings have to include the exam results of excluded pupils.

The review's recommendations include improving early intervention for children at risk of exclusion and working with education institutions offering alternative provision to ensure better outcomes for excluded pupils.

'Exclusion from school should never mean exclusion from education,' said Edward Timpson, the review's author.

'Throughout this review I have found too much variation in the use of exclusions and too many missed opportunities for children to remain in the education that best suits their needs.'

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Analysis for the review revealed that in 2016/17 85pc of mainstream schools did not expel any children – but 0.2pc of schools expelled more than 10 pupils.

Vulnerable children are more likely to be excluded, with almost four in five (78pc) permanent exclusions issued to children with special educational needs (SEN) or classified as in need or eligible for free school meals.

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Pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties were three times more likely to be permanently excluded, while looked after children were around 2.3 times more likely to be excluded than children who have never been in the care system.

In response to the review, the government announced it would launch a consultation later this year and confirmed it would rewrite guidance on the circumstances when exclusions should be used.

Damian Hinds, education secretary, said: 'Too many children can fall through the cracks, so I want schools to be accountable for the pupils they exclude, alongside tackling the practice of illegal off-rolling.

'This is not an easy answer, but it is one that will help the most vulnerable children in our society to fulfil their potential.'

The new Ofsted framework, coming into force in September 2019, is also expected to contribute to a crackdown on off-rolling by requiring inspectors to question schools where there are signs the practice is being used and to report where pupils are taken off-roll primarily in the interests of the school rather than the pupil.

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