On Tuesday 30th October, the APPG hosted a public event featuring evidence from experts and young people aiming to identify the necessary policy changes to tackle rising school exclusions and break the link between exclusions and youth violence.
Speakers included Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield; Kiran Gill, CEO of The Difference and IPPR Associate Fellow; Geoff Mount, Barnardo’s Alternative Provision Practitioner; and James Robinson, Headteacher of Camelot School, Peckham and Her Majesty’s Inspector, Education. Young people from Barnardo’s YouTurn service, which works in South London to reduce early signs of youth violence, also attended to share their experiences and lead a Q&A session.
The APPG also held a roundtable on Monday 12th November to further examine the issue. Expert attendees discussed why there are rising numbers of school exclusions; what should be done to prevent it; how those excluded from school can be supported to stay away from knife crime and reintegrate back into mainstream school settings.
Growing concerns were raised around the use of ‘off-rolling’ or unofficial exclusions, with research from IPPR estimating the number of unofficial exclusions is 5 times higher than the official rate, impacting upon availability of places in alternative provision.
School inspections and league tables were highlighted as a significant area of concern, with reform of Ofsted’s inspection criteria called for.