Helping Children with Medical or Mental Health Conditions Get the Best Out Of School

Can we rise to the challenge of the Timpson Review?


With its 30 recommendations, the Timpson review of school exclusion gives us plenty to think about. Read more.

The 128-page report is a comprehensive review of the actions, inactions, and consequences of the increasing trend in both fixed term and permanent school exclusions. At a time when many schools, educational organisations and charities are warning of cuts to provisions that support the most vulnerable, it is a hard-hitting report that demands that we all look at our practice to see that every young person gets the chance to succeed.

While the report accepts the rights of schools to exclude pupils, but it also demands that there is consistency and compassion. The data clearly demonstrates the significantly increased chances of being excluded if a student has special educational needs (SEN) or is of black Caribbean heritage or is socially and economically deprived. Many will say that this is nothing new, but if this report brings attention to the fact that many young people are failing to get an education that meets their needs resulting in their being excluded from education altogether then surely that is a step in the right direction.

More positively, the report identifies examples of excellent practice in both mainstream schools and alternative provision settings, something we should all reflect on when evaluating our own practice. What stands out most is that the evidence makes it absolutely clear that we have to start with school culture and ethos of positive relationships, respect and the resources for early identification of social, emotional, educational and mental health needs. These needs may be best met in mainstream or AP provision but the fundamental principles are the same. In the words of the report “These recommendations are just as much about changing perceptions and behaviour as they are about improving practice. Indeed the two go hand in hand. It is now up to schools, LAs and the government to rise to the challenge and take these recommendations forward.”


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