Cut limit on fixed-term exclusions, says DfE's Timpson review

Former DfE minister behind landmark report says he is not ‘confident every exclusion is legal, fair and reasonable’

Martin George

School exclusions: the Timpson Review will recommend cutting the current 45-day limit on the number of fixed-term exclusions schools can give pupils

The government should cut the number of fixed-period exclusions schools can give pupils in a year, a landmark report for the DfE will say.

A review of school exclusions, carried out by former education minister Edward Timpson will also, as expected, say that headteachers should be held more accountable for the pupils they exclude.

The review was set up last year because of concerns about the rising number of permanent exclusions, and variations in the exclusion rates for different groups of children.

Background: Hinds orders review into school exclusions

Exclusive: DfE exclusions review to examine off-rolling

Read: DfE denies it will change heads’ powers of exclusion

The Times today reported that Mr Timpson will propose reducing the number of fixed-period exclusions that a child can have in a school year.

Currently, a child can be suspended for up to 45 days in an academic year.

The review does not suggest a new maximum, but says that this limit on days should be reduced, the Times reported.

Mr Timpson’s report, which will be published tomorrow, says that heads should retain their powers to permanently exclude pupils.

Tes has reported that a Whitehall dispute over the right to exclude has held up publication of the report, which was originally supposed to be released by the end of 2018.

School exclusions and off-rolling

A key recommendation of the report is that exam results of excluded pupils should count in school league tables.

Mr Timpson told The Times: "When schools exclude a pupil, they hand them over to the local authority, which becomes responsible.

"A good school maintains close interest in what happens to the pupil, but in too many cases once the pupil is excluded interest disappears.

"In a sense, the pupil is no longer their problem."

Critics have suggested that permanent exclusions have been used too freely to get rid of poorer-performing pupils and improve school league table rankings.

A third of local authorities have "no space left" in pupil-referral units, which offer support to pupils who cannot attend mainstream schools, including those who have been permanently excluded, the House of Commons heard last month.

The former minister was said to be not "confident every exclusion is legal, fair and reasonable".

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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