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BAME Students: Pupil Referral Units - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:48 pm on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Woolley of Woodford Lord Woolley of Woodford Crossbench 2:48 pm, 23rd March 2020

My Lords, Diane Abbott said many years ago that once you have excluded a black child from school you can almost put a time and date on when they will turn up in prison. That is still true today. According to the excellent coalition of BME education practitioners, there should be no more exclusions. School exclusions cost the taxpayer an eye-watering £2.1 billion a year. Many children go to pupil referral units, but only 1% of them go on to achieve good GCSEs. However, two-thirds of pupils in PRUs will at some point go to prison. Clearly PRUs are not fit for purpose. Does the Minister agree that we should stop all school exclusions, as some places do, such as Northampton? I witnessed that when I was a children’s commissioner. Given that BME and other disadvantaged children are more likely to be excluded, I say, as I did last week, that we must recruit more black teachers and teachers from other disadvantaged backgrounds, including Roma, Gypsy, Traveller and white working-class. I apologise for going on.