A national and local focus on the role Alternative Provision / Pupil Referral Units (AP/PRU) can play to support children across the education landscape has given rise to increased collaboration and integration between ‘school’ settings. Undoubtedly, the recommendations outlined in the Timpson Review, 2019 have provided stakeholders a necessary framework to ask defining question of local area provisions.
Amongst the far reaching analysis published in the Timpson Review, uncomfortable realities about permanent exclusion reveal just one catalyst for what is motivating policy makers to instigate change. Indeed, the review cites that traveller children of Irish heritage had the highest rate of permanent exclusion, followed by Gypsy and Roma children. Additionally, those receiving SEN support were also more likely to be excluded, as were Black Caribbean pupils and those claiming free school meals. Pupils of Indian, Bangladeshi and other Asian backgrounds were the least likely to be excluded, while boys had an exclusion rate more than three times higher than that of girls.
There are, of course, no simple solutions available when key players attempt to reverse a situation increasing the vulnerabilities of children: the contributing variables and characteristics are many and varied. However, without question, the Review makes clear the benefits of enacting a conscious and deliberate route path for increased connectedness between AP/PRUs and mainstream settings. When delivered against a backdrop of common commitment, these connections can facilitate a reduction in children being excluded because programmes are co-constructed, co-created and, where appropriate, co-delivered. Through healthy collaborations, the missed opportunities inherent in a child receiving multiple suspensions can be eliminated; the fractured understanding of often fragmented multi-disciplinary teams can be bridged; and the impactful creativity borne from organisational convergence unleashed. In short, the risks of children falling between the gaps can be mitigated. The Raedwald Trust supports the Policy Development Panel’s endeavours in this arena.
Following a root and branch evaluation of the impact of its work, resulting in the reshaping of its systems and processes in order to be better equipped to build on historical and current strength, the Raedwald Trust is in a position to advance inclusion in the local area through the delivery of 4 commissionable pathways. These pathways have been designed to provide the following benefits:
- Ensure more children remain connected to their peers whilst also receiving specific, personalised, support
- Extend the reach of the Raedwald Trust by increasing the number of children receiving AP intervention within a week and a year.
- Deliver an increased synergy between teachers and other professionals in mainstream settings and the Raedwald Trust
- Increase flexibilities to work with children at the point of need by replacing site bound capacity limits with pathways able to transcend geographical boundaries.