Pupil Exclusions: Alternative Education

Department for Education written question – answered at on 12 January 2022.

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Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what instructions they have given to Regional Schools Commissioners to ensure that all schools within multi-academy trusts track the outcomes of their permanently excluded children by working with alternative education settings.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government is clear that all schools should be working in partnership with alternative provision (AP), to provide early support to individuals in mainstream education. AP also supports, where appropriate, re-integration back into mainstream schools, or successful transition to post-16 education or training.

The department is continuing to develop proposals to improve the availability of good AP as part of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Review. These reforms will deliver significantly improved outcomes for children and young people in AP, so that permanently excluded children and children at risk of suspension or permanent exclusion receive a full-time education and support suited to their individual needs.

The department knows that certain groups of children are more likely to be permanently excluded, although local context means there will be different patterns across the country. It is therefore vital that schools, local authorities and local partners work together to understand what lies behind local trends and, therefore, be able to effectively plan and target additional action according to local needs.

At its best, the academy trust model can be a powerful vehicle for improving schools. It can also allow high performing schools to consolidate success and spread that excellence across their local area. While other types of school partnerships can be effective, the key difference with academy trusts is that there is shared accountability for standards across the trust. All schools within the trust support each other and the trust is accountable for them all. Academies, including free schools, as well as academy trusts, are held to account (where necessary) by their Regional Schools Commissioner. Academies are also held to high levels of accountability by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, through their Funding Agreement.

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