TENS of thousands of the most vulnerable children are being “abandoned and failed” by schools in a “modern day Dickensian scandal”, MPs say today.
A “forgotten” generation of troubled pupils are not getting the education they deserve as teachers kick them out for an easy life – then forget about them.
In a damning report, the Commons Education Committee said parents are being forced to deal with an exclusion system like the “Wild West” which favours schools over pupils.
Committee chair Rob Halfon said there was a “lack of moral accountability” among many schools which have little incentive to keep on “difficult or challenging” students.
He warned of an “alarming” increase in “hidden” exclusions – when pupils are unofficially removed from lessons.
The report found excluded pupils, who are slotted into different forms of education, known as alternative provision (AP), are being failed by England’s education system.
Figures published last week showed a hike in exclusions, with more than 40 children a day expelled and over 2,000 suspended from England’s state schools in 2016/17.
The cross-party group of MPs called for a “bill of rights”, for pupils and their parents, including a commitment by schools to not rush to exclude pupils, and that they publish their exclusions rates each term.
Mr Halfon added: “Today, we face the scandal of ever-increasing numbers of children being excluded and being left abandoned to a forgotten part of our education system which too often fails to deliver good outcomes for these young people.
“Children in alternative provision are the forgotten children.
“Too many young people are being failed by the system and not getting the education they deserve.
“This is a vital issue of social justice and the Government should act now to ensure these young people can climb the ladder of opportunity.”
There are at least 48,000 pupils being taught outside of mainstream and special schools during the year – excluding those that remain on the full register of their school.
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Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “These are the young people on the margins, who are at most risk of severely reduced life chances, and we all have a moral responsibility to look after them.”
Ministers have announced a review of the exclusions in England’s state schools.
- THE poorest pupils lag 18 months behind richer ones in all GCSE subjects, an Education Policy Institute study said.
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