In today’s blog we look at exclusions and teachers’ pay.
Yesterday, Sunday 17 December, the Independent, the TES and the Guardian reported on comments made by Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, who suggested some schools are excluding poorly performing pupils to improve exam results.
We are clear that schools may not exclude pupils because of their academic attainment or ability. If any parent or pupil believes this has happened they should speak to the school in question.
Schools can exclude pupils, either permanently or for a fixed period, for disciplinary reasons, and the Department supports schools in using exclusion where this is warranted.
The exclusions guidance, which schools must follow, is clear schools should take appropriate steps to address the underlying causes of poor behaviour.
A Department for Education Spokesperson said:
Any decision to exclude should be lawful, reasonable and fair. While exclusion can be used as a sanction for schools to deal with poor behaviour, permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort, in response to a serious breach, or persistent breaches, of the school's behaviour policy and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others.
We have announced that we will be launching an externally led review of exclusions practice aimed at improving practice in exclusions through sharing best practice nationwide, focusing on the experiences of those groups who are disproportionately likely to be excluded.
We value the role that teachers play in society. This year some teachers are able to get a 2% per cent pay rise, alongside generous training bursaries and competitive starting salaries.
Decisions about teachers’ pay progression are now linked to performance. The most successful teachers are now able to progress faster than previously. This also gives schools greater autonomy in deciding how much to pay their staff.
The Secretary of State has recently written to the head of the School Teachers' Review Body. She has asked them to take account of the fact that the Government has adopted a more flexible approach to public sector pay.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
We value teachers and their hard work which has helped 1.9million more children to attend good or outstanding schools than in 2010.
Our reforms have given schools greater freedom than ever before on teacher pay, and we expect them to recognise and reward the best talent working in their classrooms. The Secretary of State has also written to the School Teachers’ Review Body to say that they should take account of the Government’s new flexible approach to public sector pay.