25 Jul Harlow MP Robert Halfon says “Excluded pupils are being failed by the system”
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.
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.”
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.