Excluded pupils are being failed by education system, says MP for Harlow Robert Halfon

News / Tue 24th Jul 2018 at 12:43pm

Excluded pupils are being failed by the education system, says MP for Harlow Robert Halfon

THE ‘ever increasing’ number of pupils excluded from school in England are being left abandoned to a forgotten part of the education system—alternative provision—which too often fails to give them the education they deserve, says the Education Committee in a report published today.

The report expresses concerns about the over-exclusion of pupils and at the ‘alarming’ increase in ‘hidden exclusions’ where children are internally isolated, or informally excluded.

The Committee recommends a series of measures which can act as a ‘Bill of Rights’ for pupils and their parents to help combat the existing lack of information and rights which currently act as “an obstacle to social justice and the educational ladder of opportunity”. The report finds there is a “lack of moral accountability” on the part of many schools with no incentive to, or deterrent to not, retain pupils who could be classed as difficult or challenging.

Amid concerns about ‘off-rolling’ and the impact of Progress 8, the report makes a number of recommendations to ensure schools are more accountable for excluded children. The report calls on the Government to reform the weighting of Progress 8 and other accountability measures to take account of every pupil who had spent time at a school, in proportion to the amount of time they spent there. The report also recommends the Government and Ofsted introduce an inclusion measure to incentivise schools to be more inclusive and for schools to publish more information about their permanent and fixed-term exclusion rates.

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee and MP for Harlow, said: “Today, we face the scandal of ever-increasing numbers of children being excluded and being left abandoned to a forgotten part of our education system which too often fails to deliver good outcomes for these young people.

“As a Committee we are dedicated to social justice, to helping young people climb the ladder of opportunity. The young people who are excluded are the forgotten children. Many already face a host of challenges, with children in care, children in need, children with SEND, and children in poverty, being far more likely to end up in alternative provision (AP). They deserve the best possible support but often they don’t get the education that they need to thrive.

“Parents and pupils face a system which isn’t designed for their needs, too often being left to a Wild West of exclusions with too many pupils in AP who shouldn’t be there, and those who are there not receiving the right support or the early intervention needed to make a difference to their lives.

“We need a Bill of Rights for parents and pupils who access alternative provision and they deserve someone in their corner to be their champion during the often-difficult process of trying to get the best possible support. We need much better provision, with teachers being encouraged to work in AP, and we need to strip away some of the stigma by renaming PRUs and genuinely seeing them as places for education, learning and support.

“During our inquiry, we heard about outstanding provision and dedicated staff, and from pupils who are thriving in their alternative settings. However, as a Committee we are concerned that this is too variable – all pupils should be able to experience high quality provision that meets their needs and right to an education.

“From the range of evidence we heard in our inquiry, it’s clear that reform is necessary to make sure that schools are accountable for these children. Schools which do seek to do the most for these children shouldn’t be penalised by an accountability system which acts as a disincentive to efforts which could have a transformative impact on young people’s lives.

“Children in alternative provision are the forgotten children and we hope that this report shines a light on this part of our education system. This provision has been forgotten by Governments of all stripes for far too long. We look forward to the results of Edward Timpson’s review but change has to start now. The writing is on the wall, now is the time to act.”

The Committee’s report finds it surprising that the increase in the participation age to 18 was not accompanied by statutory duties to provide post-16 alternative provision. The Committee calls upon the Government to allocate resources to ensure that local authorities and providers can provide post-16 support to pupils, either in the form of outreach and support to colleges or by providing their own post-16 alternative provision.

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14 Comments for Excluded pupils are being failed by education system, says MP for Harlow Robert Halfon:

2018-07-25 12:27:03

The cheek of this man. The same education system he's talking about is the one that his party has spent 8 years trying to destroy from the inside out. Spare us the hypocrisy, Bandwagon Bob.

tony edwards
2018-07-25 16:44:32

Whilst I welcome this report; it is not at all surprising to find that when Government policy is to judge schools primarily on academic achievements, that schools will find reasons to exclude pupils who for whatever reason fail to achieve the desired results. The Department for Education figures show a 15% rise in the number of pupils expelled from state schools between 2015-6 and 2016-7, from 6,685 to 7,720. Children with a recognised special educational need account for around half of all expulsions.

2018-07-26 14:01:56

When will people realise, that not all pupils wish to be in school. In fact,some go out of their way to be singled out for expulsion, so they can be out and about earning a few quid. It's a well known fact, and it's got nothing to do with achievement, or lack of it. Loads of people out there who can't read or write, but who know very well how to make money. The obsession with tossing out these monotonous percentages doesn't do anything for anybody, apart from making certain sections of society feel important.

2018-07-27 06:10:43

Sorry Mick Your talking absolute bollocks there mate! Primary school children are not going out grafting!!

2018-07-27 06:46:09

Forgiven for being thick, sramh. The subject is referring to exam results of fifteen and sixteen year old youth,not primary schools, although I have heard of some little darlings being removed for inappropriate behaviour.

2018-07-28 17:36:41

Micky presumably thinks all children should be up chimneys working for a living and not learning. Would fit in with his 16th century views.

2018-07-29 08:34:34

Desperation from the Marxist,jerryforqueen. Nothing to offer except an attempt at sarcasm. Given up on the "DEBATE ME" nonsense,have we ?

Brett Hawksbee
2018-07-29 10:34:53

Unbelievable chutzpah! The chronic, often stealth underfunding of education is a reality. The claim to have not reduced budgets is absolutely false. And any increase in exclusion numbers will find a correlation with hugely reduced number of EHC/SEN statements, and therefore the lack of funding in each individual school for SEN teachers. Even when funding is available because enough complicated hoops have been jumped through to get a child statemented, it is common for overall budget pressures to see SEN funding not, or not all used for it's intended purpose. The other factor is the extreme focus on academic results as absolutes, rather than measuring 'individual development' encourages exclusions for pupils who might 'pull down the average'. It is a simple science, is cause and effect. Halfon cannot with any credibility vote for the cause, and then seek to make political capital from complaining about the effect; this is just another level, seminally disingenuous. And yet, sadly, not a surprise.

2018-07-29 12:03:34

Nope, the invitation to debate with me is always open, Micky. Like Martini, anytime, anyplace, anywhere, darling.

2018-07-29 14:52:15

Camping again,jerryforqueen. Hawksbee appears,as usual to have swallowed another Marxist propagandist document. Losers, and desperate.

2018-07-29 19:44:16

Playground insults from Micky as usual. No wonder he doesn't want to debate, he'd be embarrassed like the little troll he is. Probably give the poor old duffer a heart attack, though you have have to have a heart to have one of those and I think he's safe.

2018-07-30 05:43:09

Really got you lot rattled, yet again. Micky 9/10 Marxists 1/10. One point for being able to.spell. as usual ,zero for content.

2018-07-30 09:11:07

Zero points for ducking a debate. Maybe I'll make a house call...

2018-07-30 16:22:03

I'm a very large 'troll', jerryforqueen. Better get tuned up if you're popping round.

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