Today’s Education in the Media blog focuses on alternative provision, a new report from the Children’s Commissioner, and the funding going into Further Education.
Today, Wednesday 17 October, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds, is taking part in a roundtable event at the Centre for Social Justice to discuss alternative provision. This comes on the same day that we release our response to the Education Select Committee’s report on alternative provision. This has received coverage from the Times, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
We are launching nine new projects through the £4 million Innovation Fund that helps pupils to get back into mainstream education when it’s right for them. This funding will help young people to make positive academic progress and encourage parents to be more involved. We are also setting up a ‘roadmap’ to improve outcomes for children in alternative provision, to assure that a good education will be available to children in any setting.
Edward Timpson is currently conducting a review into school exclusions, which will look deeper at the patterns and the reasons behind exclusions.
Education Secretary, Damian Hinds said:
Permanently excluding a child from mainstream school should only ever be a last resort. We support teachers in making these difficult decisions where they are justified, as poor behaviour does have an impact on other children in the class.
We have an ongoing externally-led review of school exclusions but I want to be clear that holding schools to account for the pupils they place in alternative provision and permanently exclude is not off the table.
But being excluded should never be at the cost of a child’s education. No matter the obstacles they may face or the backgrounds they’re from, we want our young people to receive an education that fosters ambition and a confidence in their abilities.
The harsh reality is that for parents and carers facing the prospect of their child being placed in alternative provision or permanently excluded, this can be a time of huge anxiety.
We need to be just as ambitious for pupils in alternative provision as we are for those in mainstream schools – with high quality teaching and education, so parents can feel reassured and positive about their child’s future, despite the difficulties they may have faced.
Alternative provision can offer a lifeline to these children and their parents, such as smaller classes and more tailored support from teachers, helping them to flourish.
Children’s Commissioner Report
Today, Wednesday 17 October, the Children’s Commissioner for England released a report into children growing up in dangerous or abusive households. This has received coverage from the Telegraph, the Independent, Sky News, the Times, the Daily Star and the Sun.
We are determined to protect and support children who suffer from domestic abuse, and the impact it leaves, which is why we have consulted on the draft Domestic Abuse Bill to tackle abuse on children. We have also committed £8 million to interventions designed to support children who are exposed to such abuse.
This is in addition to £200 billion which we have made available to councils for local services up to 2020. This includes children’s services, and will also see substantial reforms to children’s social care and safe guarding, including new local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements.
If you have concerns about a child’s welfare, please make a referral to your local authority children’s social care. Within one working day of your referral being made, a social worker should acknowledge receipt of this referral and decide on the next course of action.
A Government spokesperson said:
Every child deserves the best start in life, so it is vital vulnerable children who may face barriers to success, such as those affected by mental health, alcoholism and domestic abuse receive the care and support they need, when they need it.
We are working to tackle these issues through our landmark Domestic Abuse Bill to better protect and support victims, as well as reviewing the outcomes for children in need.
We are also investing up to £270 million in children’s social care programmes to improve the lives of vulnerable children, we have pledged £8 million to support children who are exposed to domestic abuse and £500,000 to expand helplines for children of alcoholics.
Further Education Funding
This week is College’s Week and today, Wednesday 17 October, the #LoveOurColleges campaign group will be lobbying for FE colleges support in Parliament Square.
We are aware and grateful for the fantastic work being done by FE colleges all over the country.
We will continue to look carefully at funding for the sector in preparation for the next Spending Review.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:
Our schools and colleges have a vital role to play in making sure people of all ages have the skills they need to get on in life and I would like to thank them for their hard work.
I am very aware of the funding pressures in further education which is why we are conducting an assessment of education, funding and the sustainability of the sector.
This government plans to invest nearly £7 billion this academic year to make sure there is a place in education or training, including apprenticeships, for every 16- to 19-year-old and we have protected the base rate of funding for 16-19 year olds until 2020. We are also investing in the sector as we introduce our new gold standard T Levels from 2020, which will be backed by an additional £500m every year once they are fully rolled out.