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A PILOT scheme which has been proven to radically improve long term prospects for excluded pupils will be continued in secondary schools across Wiltshire.
In the first 18 months of the trial the number of both permanent and fixed term exclusions have fallen dramatically.
Wiltshire Council was one of seven local authorities taking part in an innovative Department for Education scheme which moved responsibility for excluded 11 to 16 year olds from councils to schools.
The trial began in September 2012 with schools directly organising provision for permanently excluded pupils. It is due to end in July 2014 but council leaders, with the backing of secondary schools, are being asked to continue the new system.
A report to council leaders shows the impact of the trial with permanent exclusions falling from 21 before the start of the trial to zero. The number of days lost to fixed term exclusions – ones that last for a set period of time – fell from 1,755 in 2011/12 to 1,440 in 2012/2013 and just 182 so far in 2013/14. The number of pupils receiving fixed term exclusions fell from 972 in 2011/12 to 765 in 2012/13 and 153 so far in 2013/14.
A report to council leaders at the meeting held on 11th February stated: “All secondary schools involved have substantially increased the amount of preventative work they are doing, and even in the short time the trial has operated this has begun to have a significant effect. There is also evidence of increasing achievement among the target group of pupils.”
Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children services said, “18 months on from the start of this trial we can see it is making a positive difference. This way of working fits with our aim to have inclusive communities where everyone can reach their potential.
“We worked with all the schools to support them in developing the right provision to meet the needs of individual pupils. We continue to make sure staff, schools, pupils and their families are kept updated and supported throughout the process, and Wiltshire Council will continue to monitor the service to ensure high standards of education for these pupils.”
At the meeting council leaders agreed to continue to devolve the funding to secondary schools to provide suitable education for pupils permanently excluded or at risk of permanent exclusion from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2017.