School Exclusion: Timpson Review - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:35 pm on 7th May 2019.

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Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education 6:35 pm, 7th May 2019

My Lords, without sounding complacent, I think it is important to give some perspective to the current exclusion rate. It is about the same as it was 10 years ago; it improved but it has got worse in the last three years. I do not want to paint a picture of there being a crisis. I accept that we are concerned, and we are doing something about it, but it would be wrong to suggest that there is a crisis. Regarding attendance, we have made quite a lot of improvement. The persistent absence rates have dropped quite a lot. Looking again at a 10-year ranking, in 2006-07, 24.9% of secondary schools had persistent absence of more than 10%; that is now down to just under 14% of secondary schools, and that is while raising the bar to make it a harder judgment. So attendance is improving. I do not have the specific information on Charlie Taylor’s work; I am happy to write to the noble Baroness. The Tom Bennett review will be in a similar vein, showing schools best practice and how to manage children in these situations.