Pirate FM News

Cost to educate excluded school children rises

education school

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:40am 13th July 2018.

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

Cornwall Council’s bill for educating children who have been kicked out of school is on the rise.

The authority commissioned an independent review of its Alternative Education Provision (AEP) which provides education for children who have been excluded and those who cannot attend school for medical reasons.

And a meeting of the council’s children and families overview and scrutiny committee today was told that demand is outstripping supply.

Cornwall currently has 436 pupils enrolled in AEP which is 0.59% of the total school population of 74,193 in the county. The proportion is higher than Cornwall’s statistical neighbours – in Devon it is just 0.37% and in Dorset it is 0.45%.

The county also has a higher number of dual registered pupils – that is pupils who are registered with their mainstream school and alternative provision. In Cornwall there are 278 dual registered pupils compared to just 118 in Devon.

And Cornwall has a higher number of permanent exclusions from mainstream schools with 132 children in AEP who have been excluded which is 0.18% of the total school population. This compares to 73 in East Sussex and 42 in Dorset.

However the proportion of children in AEP who have special educational needs (SEN) is in line with the statsitical neighbours at 52.29%.

When it comes to funding AEP Cornwall uses 18% of its High Needs Block which is more than Dorset which spends 8.3%. But the cost per place in Cornwall is more in line with its neighbours standing at £20,000.

Many of the AEP pupils – 327 (83%) – require taxis to get to school costing the council £871,000 a year, around £2,216 per pupil. Despite that the cost for transport is lower than in Devon where it costs the council just over £1million a year and £4,135 per pupil.

But the committee heard that the cost had increased in the last ten years from £13,500 per place to the £20,000 it costs now. The total cost of providing AEP is currently around £7m for 2018/19 – up from £4.6m in 2014/15.

The committee heard that APE is currently provided mainly through Wave Multi Academy Trust which runs six alternative provision academies (APAs) in Cornwall – Caradon, Carrick, Nine Maidens, North Cornwall, Penwith and Restormel – along with a community hospital education service.

Cornwall Council also uses ACE Schools in Plymouth to provide additional capacity at its site in Plymouth and at centres in Cornwall.

Councillors were told that the council is working with schools to try and limit the number of exclusions and to keep children in school.

Jane Black, service director for education and early years, said that there were some very good partnerships in place to help children at risk of exclusion.

Councillor Barry Jordan asked if the reason for children being excluded was down to the schools or the children misbehaving.

Mrs Black explained that there was no single reason for why children were being excluded and said that it was not just an issue for Cornwall but a problem nationally.

She added: “There is a greater demand that mainstream schools are expected to meet. There is an argument that the pressure on schools to perform and for children to perform in terms of outcomes is a factor.”

Mrs Black also said that there were concerns nationally about schools taking children off the school roll at the end of year nine as they could have an impact on a schoold performance figures.

But she added that there are many more things which could be causing an increase in excluded children.

One area of concern was that children who go into AEP do not then return to mainstream education and that was why the council is working more closely with primary and secondary schools in Cornwall.

However Mrs Black said that schools were struggling to be able to provide the support and resources for children who need help.

She said: “If schools do not have the money to put into the resource then they can’t do it. Our funding is very poor in Cornwall and it continues to be very poor.”

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Pirate FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.
Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Suggested articles

VIDEO: Five stranger danger tips to teach your children

Cornwall News: It is after a teenage girl was 'grabbed' by a man in Penryn

Pirate Extra Pirate 70s Escape LoveCornwall