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Education and skills secretary Estelle Morris today announced ...
Education and skills secretary Estelle Morris today announced
changes to the law on exclusions and the extension of Parenting
Orders under a package of measures to tackle disruptive behaviour in
The measures include:
* changes to the law on exclusions to ensure that appeals panels
properly reflect the challenges facing headteachers and the interests
of the school community
* a consultation on extending Parenting Orders and maximising
support to schools in dealing with disruptive children and violent
* a positive package of preventative action to promote good
* making admissions forums mandatory - to advise on co-ordinated
admissions arrangements locally - including the reintegration of
excluded pupils
Estelle Morris said:
'Disruptive behaviour wears down teachers, interferes with the
education of other pupils, and condemns some children to failure at
school and long term problems. I want to tackle the roots of poor
behaviour in children, as well as strengthen the boundaries against
violence and disruption.'
Estelle Morris confirmed that she will set no fresh targets to cut
exclusions further, following an estimated fall of nearly one third
over the last three years:
'We have made so much progress in giving schools the resources
they need to cut exclusions that we can move the agenda on to
promoting the fundamentals of good behaviour.'
Headteachers who need to exclude violent or persistently
disruptive pupils will receive more support. Estelle Morris said:
'I will change the law on exclusions to make the impact of bad
behaviour on other pupils and school staff a more prominent factor in
deciding on appeals against exclusions. I am asking my officials to
consult about changes over the summer, with a view to including
changes in the forthcoming Education Bill.
'Admissions forums broker local voluntary agreements between schools
to co-ordinate the rapid re-integration of children excluded from
other schools. They encourage both over-subscribed schools and
schools with spare places to take a fair share of excluded pupils and
pupils with challenging behaviour. I propose that admissions forums
become mandatory to ensure that children without a school receive
their entitlement to one quickly.
'I propose to extend Parenting Orders so that they can be used to
make parents take responsibility for the behaviour of their children
in school. Parenting Orders have proved their value in getting
parents engaged where children are anti-social on the streets. I want
to see them used constructively to get parents to support schools in
setting boundaries for children who disrupt classes.
'Schools need other ways of tackling parents who are themselves
violent, intimidating or abusive. There are effective legal
sanctions, but schools need more support to use them - against
anti-social behaviour, against harassment of staff or pupils, against
trespass, against assault or public disorder. I am clear, however,
that the innocent child should not be excluded for the misbehaviour
of the parent. I am launching a consultation today on how we and LEAs
can support schools which need to stop violence or abuse from
Estelle Morris said the government was committed to investing
heavily in in-school units for disruptive children. Well-managed
in-school units are helping to put disruptive pupils back on track.
Over 1,000 support units have been set up so far.
'The successful Excellence in Cities programme is already providing
some 1,500 Learning Mentors in some of our most deprived secondary
schools, with another 900 mentors in primary schools. This has helped
improve standards - EiC schools' exam results are improving
significantly faster than the national average. More learning mentors
and learning support units will be created as the initiative expands
through the spread of Excellence Clusters to smaller areas of
deprivation and underperformance.'
From September next year, for the first time, full-time education
will be offered to all young people who are permanently excluded.
LEAs' progress will be monitored and swift action will be taken if
any fall behind.
Ms Morris added:
'LEAs are investing£37m more than two years ago to back this
commitment, up from£165m in 1999/2000 to£202m this
year. We know that 40 new Pupil Referral Units are planned for this
year and LEAs are recruiting many more staff for these units.
Standards are improving sharply in PRUs and we will be working
closely with units to ensure that the standards of the best are
replicated across the country.'
The government will be publishing proposals to tackle the roots of
poor behaviour in children in a forthcoming White Paper. Estelle
Morris said:
'We are currently pulling together a programme to promote good
behaviour. This is not only about setting firm boundaries for
children, it is about helping them get control of their emotions and
relations with others , their overall emotional intelligence , from
the early years. The programme will include more teacher training,
better working between health and education to spot and tackle
problems and more support for young children at the start of school.'
This Press Notice applies to England.
1. The changes proposed by the secretary of state are to the
legislation governing exclusion appeals (School Standards and
Framework Act 1998, section 67 and Schedule 18 as amended) and to the
guidance on exclusions given by her from time to time (currently in
Circular 10/99 as amended).
They are:
- to introduce a requirement for the appeal panel to balance the
interests of the excluded pupil against the interests of all the
other members of the school community;
- to make clear in legislation that the remit of the exclusions
panel consists of giving a fresh rehearing to the facts of the case.
It is proposed to legislate that that a full and fair hearing before
the panel cures any defects in prior procedure. This will avoid the
possibility of appeals panels reinstating pupils on a 'technicality'
(or a series of 'technicalities') relating to prior procedure, when
on the merits of the case the exclusion was justified;
- to require that a majority of members of appeals panels have
direct experience of school management. The current guidance within
Circular 10/99 only advises that a teacher may sit on the panel. The
proposed change goes further than this. The panel should have a
majority of independent people with direct experience of school
management in education, (for example serving or former headteachers,
members of a school management team.).
2. Parenting Orders are available under s8 of the Crime and Disorder
Act 1998. They impose requirements on parents to help them bring up
their child in a way that minimises anti-social or offending
behaviour. They have been nationally available since June 2000. They
are made by criminal courts, magistrates courts acting in civil
cases, and family proceedings courts. The Order may include
attendance at counselling or guidance sessions to help a parent cope
better with a child's challenging behaviour, and to help set and
enforce sensible boundaries of discipline. It may also include other
requirements. For example parents may be required to ensure their
child attends school or a homework club, avoids contact with
disruptive children, avoids certain areas, is home at night or
attends anger management or similar courses.
3. The forthcoming White Paper on secondary schools will detail a
programme of work to support schools in setting high expectations of
behaviour and strengthening the emotional intelligence of pupils.
The programme will be developed to meet four goals: I) early
intervention to promote good behaviour and to help young children who
have problems with the basics of concentrating and co-operating; ii)
good training for teachers, learning support assistants and all
adults in schools in managing behaviour, excellent classroom practice
and working with parents and other services; iii) encouragement for
parents to take responsibility for their children's behaviour; and
iv) better co-operation between school and other services - including
the health service.
4. The statutory Code of Practice on School Admissions, published in
April 1999, says that local education authorities, foundation schools
and voluntary aided schools should set up local Admissions Forums.
Admission Forums broker voluntary agreements locally on school
admission arrangements, between different admission authorities and
between interested parties. In particular, they can play a central
role in protecting the interests of vulnerable groups, such as
children who have special educational needs and groups of children
who, because of their circumstances, may be seeking a school place
outside the normal admission round when available places have already
been allocated.They provide the means for all key local partners
involved in making admissions arrangements to ensure that the
arrangements meet the best interests of parents, and that schools
take their fair share of pupils who have to move for whatever reason.
The proposal to make them mandatory will be subject to consultation.
5. The Targeted Standards Fund grant, to tackle poor behaviour, is up
from£17m in 1997 to£174m this year. An additional
£11.25m is available to secondary schools to enable electronic
registration to be installed. From April 2001 the Children's Fund and
Connexions Service will provide further money making at least£600m over the next three years to support a range of initiatives for
young people, including tackling truancy and exclusion.
6. There are now over 300 Pupil Referral Units (PRUs). Since 1997 the
number of teaching and support staff at PRUs has increased by nearly
600 and the number of pupil places by over 1,000. A third of PRUs
already offer full-time provision and from September this year two
-thirds of local authorities will be making full-time provision for
excluded secondary pupils. Ofsted's latest annual report indicated
sharply improving standards at PRUs.
7. Official figures show that there has been a drop in annual
permanent exclusions from 10,400 in 1998/99 to an estimated 8,600 in
1999/2000 - an 18 per cent decrease and nearly a third less than the
peak of 12,700 in 1996/97. The government's target for 2002 is 8,400.
Final figures are due out in a DfES Statistical First Release on 19
July. The secretary of state has said that she is satisfied that the
level of permanent exclusions reached is sustainable and has
confirmed that no fresh targets will be set.
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