The DfE has published an interim report from its three-year school exclusion trial, which started in autumn 2011 and continues until July 2014. The trial sees schools taking on responsibility for placing excluded pupils in alternative provision (AP), funding the placements from money devolved from LAs; and gives flexibility for funding earlier intervention to reduce the need for exclusion in the first place. It involves around 180 participating schools in 11 volunteer local authorities (LAs).
An evaluation is running alongside the trial, with the final report due in spring 2015. The evaluation will assess the issues arising from the implementation of the trial and the impact it has on pupils, schools, LAs and AP providers.
The report focuses on establishing a qualitative and quantitative baseline for the evaluation, but also presents some early findings from the first year of the trial. It is based on schools in the eight LAs that were participating at the initial stage of the evaluation. Although at a very early stage of the trial, there was evidence from some trial schools that they have started to implement changes, such as:
§ changes to school processes (the introduction of new school-wide policies and strategies; the employment of new staff in specialised roles in schools; allocated budgets for AP);
§ additional training for existing staff; and
§ changes to the types of interventions offered (increased support for pupils at risk of permanent exclusion, including external AP and in-school provision).
Future reports will consider the outcomes of the trial, including the impact on pupils’ attainment, and provide case studies of how particular issues have been addressed.
The report is available here
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