The Department for Education has published the Timpson Review of School Exclusion. The review was commissioned in March 2018 to consider school exclusion practices in England and why they have risen. The report contains 30 recommendations to government to address exclusions. The Department for Education has stated that it is will agree to all 30 recommendations in principle. Please note that Educational Psychologists are mentioned 8 times the review, in the context of case studies and good practice, models for working together, developing a skilled workforce and working with local partners. The key points of the review are as follows:
- The Department for Education should ensure that schools are “responsible for the children they exclude and accountable for their educational outcomes”. However, the review does not set out how this would work in practice, but the Department have promised a consultation on the matter in the Autumn;
- In order for schools to be able to deliver on this responsibility, though the report does calls for increased autonomy in regards to alternative-provision funding, with enough funding being put in place to ensure that alternative interventions can take place to ensure that exclusion is avoided where appropriate;
- While the report does back up the power of headteachers to exclude “where this is appropriate”. It does raise concerns that pupils who receive a large number of fixed-period exclusions may be missing out on education, with such exclusions becoming “a revolving door” that does not address underlying behavioural issues;
- The report also calls for the Department to hold a consultation on reducing the 45-day limit on the number of fixed-period exclusions that a pupil can have in a year or otherwise consult on "revisiting the requirements to arrange AP in these periods”. The report does not suggest what this limit should be changed to;
- In regards to off rolling the report offers up a number of recommendations, these include the introduction of systematic tracking of pupil moves, with local authorities “taking action where necessary”, Ofsted grading schools that off-roll with an “inadequate” judgement in terms of leadership and management in anything but exceptional cases and the introduction of a “right of return” in order for children who go into home education can return to their previous school within a fixed period of time; and
- The Department should clarify the actions and powers local authorities can take as “advocates of vulnerable children, working with mainstream, special and AP schools and other partners to support children with additional needs or who are at risk of leaving their school, by exclusion or otherwise”.