(2) what account was taken of the Government's (a) policy on localism and (b) Respect agenda before his Department's decision to require schools to provide full-time education for any pupil excluded for six days or longer; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what the basis was for his decision to require schools to provide full-time education for pupils excluded for six days or longer from September 2007;
(4) what assessment his Department has made of the likely impact on (a) numbers of exclusions and (b) school discipline of his decision to require schools to provide full-time education for pupils excluded for six days or longer; and if he will make a statement.
The requirement for schools to provide full-time education for pupils excluded for more than six days was set out in the Schools White Paper “Higher Standards, Better Schools for All—More Choice for Parents and Pupils” on 25 October 2005 and enacted in the Education and Inspections Bill in February 2006. This was cleared with Cabinet colleagues including the Deputy Prime Minister, then responsible for local government, and the Home Secretary. Requiring schools and local authorities to provide education for pupils who have been excluded ensures that no child misses out on their education when excluded from school and that they are not left to wander the streets during schools hours, in line with the Respect agenda. This particular requirement is part of a range of powers and duties in the Education and Inspections Act 2006 and is intended to benefit pupils who are excluded rather than impact directly on school behaviour. We will be monitoring the volume and pattern of exclusions from September 2007 but do not expect to see significant changes as a result of the introduction of this requirement, as decisions about whether or not to exclude a pupil should only be taken in response to serious instances of misbehaviour as outlined in the school's behaviour policy. Real progress has been made since 1997 in tackling poor behaviour in schools. Ofsted indicate that pupil behaviour is good in most schools and permanent exclusions are 25 per cent. lower than in 1997.