New action to improve outcomes for children with additional needs

The government has announced that Edward Timpson will carry out a review into school exclusions to better understand inequalities that exist in the system

Education secretary Damian Hinds has announced plans to transform education for children with additional needs and improve the experiences of those in alternative provision.

Evidence shows children educated in alternative provision – school settings for children who face challenges in mainstream school – are less likely to achieve good GCSE grades and are less likely to be in education, employment or training post-16. Previous analysis also shows that children excluded from school are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system.

The plans announced March 16 aim to tackle those inequalities by looking at the experience and outcomes for children who face the most challenges in mainstream school – including those at greatest risk of exclusion – such as those with special educational needs (SEN), children with autism or children in need of help and protection, including those in care.

They include an externally led review of school exclusions, which will look at why some children are more likely to be excluded than others.

Plans also include a new £4m fund to develop new ways to help children with additional needs move from alternative provision into mainstream education or special schools and measures to drive up standards in alternative provision education settings.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “It’s a mark of a strong society how we treat children who are most in need of our support. Every child, whatever their background and no matter what challenges they face, should have access to a world-class education that prepares them for life in the modern world.

“Thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, standards are rising and we are already encouraging schools to focus on the achievements of all pupils, not just the highest achievers.

“Children only get one chance at their education and they deserve the best. But for too many children – and often those who are most vulnerable – there are inconsistencies when it comes to their experiences of school and too many parents are left worried and concerned.

You might also like...  A Mind for Business; managing resources, realising potential and avoiding stress

“That’s not good enough which is why we are going to improve our understanding of these important issues and tackle the head-on.”

The proposals include:

  • The launch of an externally led review of exclusions, led by former Children’s Minister Edward Timpson to look at how the use and levels of exclusions vary from school to school focusing on those children who are more likely to be excluded.
  • A ‘roadmap’ setting out how the government will transform alternative provision to make sure these education settings provide high-quality teaching and an education that meets the individual needs of young people in their care.
  • A £4m Alternative Provision Innovation Fund to test and develop projects that support children back into mainstream or special schools, as well as encouraging parental and carer involvement in the education of their child. The investment will also fund schemes that support young people as they move from alternative provision in to training or further education at post-16, so all young people can succeed in the next stage of their lives.
  • A call for evidence on how to improve educational outcomes for Children in Need – children that need additional help or protection, including children in care. The call for evidence will gather best practice from school leaders, social workers and other professionals, fulfilling a manifesto commitment to find out what works in improving the educational outcomes for these children.

New analysis reveals how far children in need fall behind their peers from the early years, making less progress throughout school. They are three times more likely to have special educational needs than other children and this compounds poor educational outcomes.

The plans intend to sharpen the focus on the core essentials of education and improve educational outcomes for these children, widening the options available to them so that they can succeed later in life.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with the latest news and features