School exclusion trial 2011-14
In October 2011 the Department announced the start of a three-year school exclusion trial to improve the education of children who have been permanently excluded.
Over 300 schools in 11 local authorities are taking part in the trial, which will see schools taking on responsibility for ensuring that permanently excluded pupils continue to receive a good education.
The trial will also enable schools - working in partnership with each other and the local authority - to try out new ways of tackling challenging behaviour. There are already places where good quality alternative education helps difficult pupils succeed; trial schools will be able to learn from these and find out what works best for them.
When a headteacher permanently excludes a pupil from school, the new approach being tested from 2011-14 will see the school, rather than the local authority, placing the pupil in an appropriate alternative setting. The school will fund the placement from the budget formerly used by the local authority for this purpose and will be accountable for the pupil’s attainment and attendance.
- When a decision to permanently exclude has been taken by a headteacher, the school notifies the parents on the same day. For the first five days of the exclusion parents are required to supervise their child.
- Parents have a right to appeal to the school governors over the exclusion. If the governing body upholds the headteacher’s decision the parents may appeal to an independent appeal panel .
- On the sixth day, the local authority assumes responsibility for providing full-time education for the pupil, in accordance with its duty under Section 19 of the Education Act 1996. The parents have a legal duty to ensure that the child attends their place of education.
- It is the local authority that decides what provision would best meet the needs of the excluded pupil. About a third of excluded pupils are given a place in a (local authority-managed) Pupil Referral Unit, with two thirds going to other alternative provision, such as third sector organisations that focus on vocational subjects or behavioural improvement.
- The low academic success rate of these excluded pupils (1.4 per cent achieve five A* to C grades compared with 56 per cent in mainstream schools) is one of the reasons why a different approach is being tested.
- The process of exclusion and appeal itself will not be changed. The decision to exclude will still be taken by the headteacher, and parents will still be able to appeal a permanent exclusion first to the governing body then an independent panel. The current arrangements, including the requirement for parental supervision for the first five days, and for the school to notify parents of the exclusion decision on the day, will still apply.
- The most significant detail to change is that it will be the school, rather than the local authority, which takes statutory responsibility for ensuring that suitable full-time education is provided to pupils of compulsory school age from the sixth-day of exclusion. It will be for the school to select the most appropriate placement for its pupil and it will commission this directly from a provider. The school will subsequently be responsible for arranging regular reporting on the pupil’s academic and behavioural progress.
- Local authorities will, in consultation with their participating schools, devolve a proportionate amount of Dedicated Schools Grant for individual schools to fund their new responsibilities.
- Schools will be able to use this additional funding as they wish. They could use it to support behaviour management, including commissioning more early intervention work with pupils who are starting to show challenging behaviour or disengagement from learning.
- The objective of the new approach is to improve the experience of pupils who are at risk of exclusion, so that a greater number benefit from early intervention and, where exclusion is deemed to be necessary, the impact of effective alternative provision enables a greater proportion to be able to take the next step towards being responsible and successful members of society. This may be reflected in higher educational attainment or successful re-integration into mainstream learning or training.
- Approximately 300 secondary schools are due to take part in the trial. The evaluation of educational and personal outcomes of these pupils will provide solid evidence for the future development of exclusion policy.
- The trial covers three school years, commencing in autumn 2011 and concluding in July 2014.
Our partnership receives the funding previously used to provide external local authority provision and, with this, we have developed the individual and collective capacity and expertise to provide for every student whether in or outside the mainstream. This has created a totally new level of trust and collective ownership of students within our partnership.