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New exclusion initiative yields dramatic results

4 October 2012

An initiative that makes schools accountable and responsible for the education of excluded pupils is proving a success. Under the trial scheme funding for educating excluded children goes directly to headteachers (instead of the LA) who decide how best to cater for the pupils’ needs.

Presently, many excluded pupils end up in LA-run Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) costing over £16,000 a year, compared to around £4,500 for a place at a mainstream school. Most pupils leave with poor exam results and no qualifications.

Under the scheme, schools work together in ‘inclusion partnerships’ trying wherever possible to admit excluded pupils into another mainstream school. The result? PRUs are closing as demand drops and money previously spent on funding places at PRUs has been plugged back into school budgets, (£5.4m in Cambridgeshire). This may not work as well in less affluent areas, but the DfE is watching closely. It appears to be the clear way forward and could well be the status quo in the foreseeable future.

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