Timpson Review of School Exclusion

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:34 pm on 7th May 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Secretary of State for Education 5:34 pm, 7th May 2019

I thank the hon. Lady for her questions. Of course I agree entirely with what she says about the need for appropriate support for children on the autistic spectrum or, indeed, for children with other special needs.

I acknowledge that Scotland has a very different approach to exclusions. I believe that the approach that we have in England is the right one, but it is right also that we have such reviews to make sure that exclusions are being used fairly and justly and are not affecting particular groups disproportionately.

The hon. Lady mentions the carrying of weapons and the fact that being in school is a protection against that. She is absolutely right about that, but it would be wrong to think that the sole or primary cause of a child not being in school is being excluded. Persistent absence is at least as big a deal.

Finally, I do recognise that the number of exclusions has come down very significantly in Scotland. The hon. Lady mentions that they are lower now than they were 10 years ago, but it is also true that exclusions in England are lower now than they were 10 years ago.