A new approach has seen a dramatic fall in the number of permanent exclusions from schools in Warwickshire.
Figures show that the number of exclusions dropped from 87 in 2010/11 to 31 in 2011/12. This is the lowest number of permanent exclusions for a decade.
The need for change was highlighted by a high exclusion rate and the Warwickshire Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) being placed in special measures. Since then Warwickshire County Council has been working with schools to look at alternative ways to shift resources to prevent exclusion and to make better provision suited to the individual needs of pupils who are excluded.
The new approach centres on devolving funding to schools. Collectively, schools used this funding to invest in their own early intervention systems such as Learning Support Units. Where appropriate, packages of part time and full time alternative educational provision have been purchased from a range of organisations offering a range of different learning experiences.
Where it is considered that a fresh start is the best option for the young person, there have been managed transfers from one school to another.
Funding for the new approach has been released due to closure of the Pupil Referral Unit.
Warwickshire County Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Families said: “We know that the impact of an exclusion has a negative effect on outcomes of young people far beyond the immediate decision. By maintaining some of our most vulnerable young people in quality education provision, we are increasing their life chances.
Mark Gore, Head of Service for Learning and Achievement commented: “This could be seen as a high risk project, moving resources from crisis management following an exclusion to preventing those crises. The figures show the huge step we have taken in the past year. Our challenge now is sustain this year on year.”