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What will happen to excluded children under this government?

What will happen to excluded children under this government?

Between Ashes drama and what many are describing as a Boris Johnson coup, much other news and comment was eclipsed this week. Nonetheless, Tuesday produced what seemed to me to be three particularly significant items.

I was struck first by a powerful column in The Times, in which Rachel Sylvester described her experience of how “atrocious, unregulated schools have become a dumping ground for problematic pupils”. 

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She reports that, since 2016, Ofsted has investigated more than 500 unregistered schools, where some 6,000 children are being educated – or, rather, not being educated. More shocking than her description of disgusting, insanitary and hazardous premises was, to my mind, the fact that more than a quarter of such places were offering alternative provision (AP) to pupils excluded from mainstream schools. 

Sylvester joined the Ofsted investigations team at an unlicensed West Midlands school, now subject to an Ofsted investigation that may lead to criminal charges. Astonishingly, this school is run by the local authority, an arm of government ignorant of, or ignoring, the fact that it’s sending children for whom it is responsible to an illegal institution. 

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