My Lords, I warmly welcome the Timpson report and the reaction to it that we have heard from the Minister tonight. I hope that it will lead to a significant reduction in the number of pupils who are excluded—or off-rolled or home educated or sent to PRUs—which has grown far too much in the past few years.
It is very welcome to see that the consultation process that the Minister announced is so wide, and I am glad that he is in charge—he is the Minister in the department who is driving this policy, and we should be grateful for that. In the consultation process, I hope that he will ask the head teacher who excludes to meet with the local authority and the parents to determine a plan for the education of the student who is being excluded, and to review that plan, and for Ofsted to examine it in its inspections.
The Minister should also not exclude the possibility of some financial support for parents when they have to take on the responsibility of educating their children. One cost that should certainly be paid for by the school is for the examinations that the student takes. Those cost about £300 to £400 per set of examinations and, as those now have to be announced, that is the very least that should be provided for them.
In general, I warmly support the report. This is a major step forward in the education system.