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Professor David Berridge warns MPs that schools are failing to find alternative provision for excluded pupils.

24 November 2017

Giving evidence to the parliamentary education committee’s inquiry into alternative provision, Professor David Berridge from the Children and Families research centre, said that it was difficult for individual schools to know about the “range of resources” available and avoid providers who are “in it for the wrong reasons”.

The committee, which has been called as a result of concerns around large variations in the quality and availability of provision for pupils outside mainstream schools, seeks to understand how to ensure that they are all pupils are receiving the best possible support.

However Prof. Berridge warned that, “most schools are not necessarily are in the best position to commission specialist resource for challenging pupils”, and that some schools may not be approaching other provision “with their eyes open”.

 “No doubt some are good at it, but there are a lot of providers out there. Many are doing a very good job, some of them probably making quite a lot of money, and some may be in it for the wrong reasons”, he said.

With schools often facing a choice between local authority-maintained pupil-referral units, alternative provision academies, private alternative providers and unregistered providers, it is difficult for leaders to identify what will be best for pupils, Berridge warned.

Alternative provision institutions cater for excluded pupils as well as those with emotional, behavioural and medical needs. Justine Greening, the education secretary, announced plans to review alternative provision only recently, and the government intends to continue to collect more data on why pupils end up in the sector.

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