The Department for Education (DfE) has published its response to recommendations laid out in the Education Select Committee’s report on alternative provision.
The report called for a “Bill of Rights” for pupils facing exclusion, for Independent Review Panels to be able to direct a school to reinstate pupils and highlighted inconsistency in the quality of alternative provision.
The government’s response acknowledges significant challenges and that there is more to be done to ensure that all children in alternative provision receive the high-quality education that they deserve.
The review of exclusions led by former DfE minister Edward Timpson will report early next year and, although it does not intend to implement the proposal to increase the powers of Independent Review panels, the government has not ruled out measures to increase schools’ accountability for excluded pupils.
Alongside this, the DfE has published its research exploring the landscape of AP and research into the market for AP. These explore how pupil characteristics are taken into account during the exclusion process and characteristics of successful local systems.
The select committee’s report also includes a number of conclusions and recommendations which have relevance to Ofsted and the inspectorate’s response promises to consider incentives for schools to be more inclusive and to continue to address “off-rolling” (the practice of removing pupils from roll to boost performance measures) in its inspections.
The National Governance Association has suggested that the review stage by panels of school governing boards may not be best serving the interests of children and that the process should include an appeal stage entirely independent of the institution that made the decision to exclude the pupil.