Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
In June 2013, the University of Edinburgh’s research into education provision for children and young people educated outside the school setting was published. After consideration, I published a response which accepted eighteen recommendations, either in whole, in part or in principle. At that time I made a commitment to provide an update on progress towards implementation of these recommendations.
As identified in my formal response many of these recommendations will be addressed by a review and refresh of the Inclusion and Pupil Support guidance which will be published after formal consultation in 2015. By engaging with a variety of stakeholders to thoroughly review this guidance document I can ensure that seven of the accepted recommendations are addressed. The amended guidance will:
- recognise the impact of exclusions (recommendation 1),
- provide guidance on the registration and monitoring of pupils particularly female pupils (recommendations 9 and 19),
- encourage the development of clear aims and purposes for EOTAS provision and the sharing of good practice (recommendations 15 and 18),
- promote behaviour management (recommendation 17), and
- ensure the harmonisation of terminology used within EOTAS provision.
To help identify examples of good practice that already exist within EOTAS settings, my officials have been working with some local authorities to develop best practice case studies. I have also commissioned Estyn to undertake a thematic review of existing provision which is expected to report its findings in summer 2015. Once Estyn has published its report, I will consider the identified best practice and, if appropriate, my officials will develop additional case studies. These case studies will be disseminated via the Welsh Government’s existing communication channels such as the Learning Wales website and the weekly Dysg newsletter. I would expect local authorities and consortia to consider the tools and resources made available by the Welsh Government to review and inform their own EOTAS provision.
To promote the effective management of pupil referral units, I have introduced new legislation, which makes management committees of pupil referral units statutory. This new requirement will help to ensure consistency in the day to day PRU management which, in turn, will help to ensure consistency in the quality of services provided for children and young people in PRUs. This new requirement will be supported by statutory guidance on how management committees should be set up, and their roles and responsibilities.
In December my officials will be hosting the annual PRU conference, in which we plan to include workshop discussions on the development of benchmarking frameworks for evaluating outcomes and value for money in EOTAS provision. My officials continue to engage with stakeholders at all levels, from staff working in EOTAS settings to managing directors of regional consortia; this engagement helps to inform amendments to guidance and identify areas of EOTAS practice where additional good practice guides may be required to ensure all accepted recommendations can be met.