Following the publication of the Timpson Review of School Exclusion, the National Governance Association is pleased to see a detailed list of recommendations aimed at ensuring exclusions are used appropriately, beginning with support for school leaders in fostering positive behaviour cultures. In response, the government has pledged £10 million to help spread best practice in managing behaviour, while the Department for Education has also confirmed it will re-write guidance on managing behaviour as well as the circumstances when exclusions should be used.
There are no specific proposals on how to strengthen accountability around the use of exclusions, as recommended by Mr Timpson. However, NGA is pleased that the government is launching a consultation on the issue of accountability later this year, providing a valuable opportunity to gather views on how schools will remain accountable for the educational outcomes of permanently excluded children. A crucial aspect of this is the question of what will be done to safeguard admissions of those groups who are excluded in disproportionately high numbers.
NGA supports the recommendation for extended funding for local Alternative Provision, though this falls short of addressing the overall funding deficit and the resource needs of all pupils, especially those with complex needs who are more likely to be excluded.
Whilst the report also recommends that the DfE should work towards enhancing the capacity and capability of governors and trustees to offer effective support and challenge to schools, the governing board’s role in reviewing exclusions does not seem to have come in for much scrutiny beyond the obvious need for revitalised training and guidance.
NGA would very much encourage Mr Timpson and the DfE to undertake that review of governing board panels. It is an important part of the system which needs examining to test if it is fit for purpose. We are disappointed that this is not one of the 30 recommendations given the concerns we raised with the current system which cannot be said to constitute a truly independent appeal.