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3.37 Over time, we think there is a strong case for organising exclusion and alternative provision differently. We want to make it clear that head teachers have the authority to exclude pupils where there is no other option. But we want to balance this authority with clear responsibility for both the quality of the education their excluded pupils receive and what they achieve.
3.38 So we plan to trial a new approach. Schools will be free to exclude pupils, but they will then be responsible for finding and funding alternative provision themselves. In line with our plans to give schools greater autonomy and more control of funding, we will explore shifting the money for alternative provision from local authorities to schools so schools can purchase for themselves the alternative provision they think will best suit disruptive children. They could either collaborate with other schools to provide suitable places, or buy them from the local authority, the voluntary sector or local colleges.
3.39 In order to ensure the decision to exclude is never abused, schools will be held accountable for the pupils they exclude. The academic performance of excluded children would count in the school performance tables. This would create a strong incentive for schools to avoid exclusion where possible, and ensure that where it does happen it is appropriate and pupils receive good alternative provision.
3.40 We believe this change of approach could see much improved outcomes for some of our most vulnerable children. However, we recognise that this is a big step. So we will begin by working with local authorities and head teachers to test the approach, identify issues and barriers, develop solutions, and ensure that the incentives work effectively.
3.41 Certainly in the short to medium term, we would need local authorities to retain a duty to ensure that sufficient provision is available, and to take responsibility for quality assurance. Over time, we hope to see responsibility pass more and more to schools themselves. We will work closely with schools and local authorities as we trial and implement these reforms.
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