Commenting on the Timpson review of school exclusions, Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) said:
“The Confederation of School Trusts welcomes Edward Timpson’s clear statement that schools must be calm and safe places, with strong behaviour cultures, including the right to exclude as the ultimate sanction.
It is important to note that exclusion rates are not exceptionally high by historic standards – the rate and number of permanent exclusion is lower than in 2006/07, when comparable records began.
This report rightly shines the light on the quality of Alternative Provision – it cannot be right that just 4.5% of pupils educated in Alternative Provision achieve a good pass in English and maths GCSEs in 2016/17.
There is certainly some high-quality Alternative Provision in our system, but as Ofsted has recently shown, there is also some worrying provision that is unregistered and potentially unsafe. Children and young people have a right to high quality provision, wherever they are educated.
It is right that Timpson has looked at accountability arrangements for excluded pupils. However, it cannot be in pupils’ interests that the school responsible for the exclusion remains solely accountable for the pupil’s educational outcomes. In a system in which some Alternative Provision is already not delivering a high-quality education, it would be very problematic to have no mechanism to hold this provision to account for pupil outcomes. At the very least, there should be a mechanism for joint accountability.
CST also advocates for Alternative Provision to be properly funded and for school leaders to be involved in the commissioning of Alternative Provision. We cannot have a world-class education system without world-class Alternative Provision, which includes services to support the social mobility gap.”