Hinds refuses to exclude the idea of new legislation

19th October 2018, 12:00am
Tes Editorial

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Hinds refuses to exclude the idea of new legislation

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/hinds-refuses-exclude-idea-new-legislation

"Being excluded should never be at the cost of a child's education."

That was the message from education secretary Damian Hinds this week, as he warned that he may legislate to make schools accountable for students who they exclude.

He said: "No matter the obstacles they may face or the backgrounds they're from, we want our young people to receive an education that fosters ambition and a confidence in their abilities."

Exclusions have proved to be a thorny issue for schools, ministers and councils alike.

A report published this week showed that providers of alternative provision see it as being in mainstream schools' financial interests to permanently rather than temporarily exclude.

"There was a strong view among some AP providers that schools were incentivised to permanently exclude children at the expense of fixed-term exclusions because local authorities funded placements for permanently excluded pupils, whereas schools funded those for fixed- term exclusions," the report for the Department for Education notes.

Another DfE report shows that local authorities are caught in a Catch-22 over exclusions and funding alternative provision.

"The situation some, particularly smaller, [local authorities] described was one where they knew they needed to create capacity for a more preventative, flexible, reintegration focused approach to AP, but were not able to do so since all of their resources - money and staff time - were taken reacting to exclusions and finding placements in AP."

Former children's minister Edward Timpson is due to publish the findings of an inquiry into school exclusions at the beginning of next year, and Hinds says the government will respond to its conclusions.

"We have an ongoing externally-led review of school exclusions, but I want to be clear that holding schools to account for the pupils they place in alternative provision and permanently exclude is not off the table."

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