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 Baroness Morris of Yardley Baroness Morris of Yardley Labour 6:35 pm, 7th May 2019

My Lords, I welcome the report. I think Edward Timpson is highly regarded across all sides of the House, and this is a thorough piece of work on which we should build. Having said that, I am disappointed in the Government’s response. It seems very woolly, with rather a lot of waffle. The recommendations tend to be about rewriting guidance and setting up a committee. Looking quickly through them, I honestly cannot see much that is new. There is not one big—or even small—idea that I would see as fresh thinking in response to a good report.

In particular—I ask the Minister to have a look—behaviour partnerships were abolished in 2010 by Michael Gove as part of his bonfire of the quangos. As the Minister is setting them up again, perhaps he could look at the good practice followed under the last years of the Labour Government. If my memory serves me right—it may not—I think the Labour Government also had a proposal whereby the examination performance of excluded children stayed for two years with the school from which they had been excluded. That must have been got rid of at some point by the Conservatives or the coalition. Can the Minister reassure us that he will learn from that and will not reinvent the wheel?

My main point is that I am not sure whether or not we are talking about fixed-term exclusions. When we talk about 85% of schools not excluding, that does not include the many schools who have fixed-term exclusions; these run at 500 times more than permanent exclusions at some 2,000 per day. Will the Minister tell us whether what he has said applies to fixed-term exclusions? I am interested in two figures. First, how many children who are eventually permanently excluded have already gone through a series of fixed-term exclusions? I bet it is almost every single one of them. Secondly, does he have the figures on exclusion by type of school—that is, maintained schools and academies?