NSN Director, Unity Howard, responds to Justice's report on schools exclusions released today.
"Justice’s ‘Challenging School Exclusions’ report demonstrates the damaging consequences in the shortage of provision for children at risk of exclusion, particularly those with complex needs. It is not acceptable that disadvantaged pupils, children with SEND and those from minority backgrounds are being excluded, sometimes illegally.
"We agree with Justice’s recommendation that school leaders should receive mandatory training on exclusions. However, to tackle this issue head-on we need to ensure there is adequate provision to meet pupils needs. This must provide support for pupils before the need for exclusion. High-quality Alternative Provision should be available for every child that needs it, to help prevent exclusions but also combat the negative consequences when they happen.
"Free schools are a mechanism to deliver this at pace and at scale. They have consistently shown they are part of the solution to this crisis. AP free schools such as The Fermain Academy and The Boxing Academy offer a truly transformative opportunity for children to thrive in a non-mainstream setting, giving them a real second chance. That is why we at NSN are calling on all political parties to increase the provision and quality of AP."