Edward Timpson’s review on exclusions presents an opportunity for schools to reflect on current practices and consider whether there are any operational risks to address.
Edward Timpson’s review on exclusions presents an opportunity for schools to reflect on current practices and consider whether there are any operational risks to address. The Timpson Review has been a catalyst for a heightened publicity and scrutiny of schools’ approach to exclusions and against that background it is a good time for schools to make sure they are fully trained with the existing statutory requirements.
The Department for Education (DfE) have welcomed the review’s findings and agreed in principle to all 30 recommendations. Whilst the report strikes a measured but urgent tone, its impact will be almost entirely dependent on new policy and increased funding. The recommendations are wide-ranging, cover many aspects of school behaviour and exclusion and if they are all implemented, will have a significant impact on pupils, parents, schools and local authorities (LAs). Key trends throughout the report include:
1. Self-assess school operations around behaviour and exclusions. Schools should ask themselves:
2. Ensure governing boards have received appropriate training –Timpson identifies that governors and trustees do not have the knowledge to assess exclusion decisions and do not receive quality training or guidance to support them in conducting meaningful reviews. He expects governing boards to have a greater role in supporting and challenging senior leaders over exclusions and reviewing information on children excluded from their schools; quality training is pivotal to their role. See our service guides at the bottom of this briefing for more information on our training package.
3. Engage with other schools and the LA– the review presents an opportunity for early dialogue with other schools and the LA in their area in anticipation of a number of changes referred to above. Better communication and links with the LA and external agencies could improve multi-agency working and help schools get better access to behavioural support. Teaching schools, school-to-school collaboration and sharing ideas and best practice on managing behaviour as part of a self-improving school system could yield results at limited cost. This is where multi academy trusts and school federations can pave the way, particularly those that operate mainstream, special and AP provision.
4. Review the school’s current approach to AP and the AP available to them. The report gives schools the opportunity to engage in early dialogue with other schools, trusts and their LA to explore what may need to be done in their area to implement the report’s AP ambitions.
5. Anticipate the radical changes to statutory and non-statutory guidance so they will not come as a huge surprise. We expect significant changes to the statutory guidance on exclusions, behaviour guidance and the SEND Code of Practice by summer 2020. Schools should therefore ready themselves to obtain training and update their policies and template letters. Other changes in addition to those described above include:
The review makes all the right noises but will not yield any change in its own right. At present, there is not enough funding or resource and schools have been left to do the best they can taking into account the education, safety and welfare of all pupils within their care. It is an unenviable and difficult task that Timpson appears to appreciate. He notes that rising numbers of children need support from other services; schools are waiting too long to access external services and support; there is too much pressure on high needs budgets and a lack of special school places resulting in pupils being placed in mainstream schools without the right support. The overriding feeling from the review is a familiar tale - better support and greater funding is crucial for meaningful change to follow.
Our previous article, Are you ready for any admission’s appeals that come your way? >
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