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School Exclusion

Volume 647: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2018

17. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on breaking the link between school exclusion and prison. (907005)

My right hon. Friend is right to highlight this issue: 23% of those given short custodial sentences were previously excluded from school. I have not personally met the Secretary of State for Education to this discuss this matter, but I have corresponded with the Minister with responsibility for schools on exactly this issue. I regularly meet the Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Education about linked issues, and my officials and I are engaged with the Department for Education on its exclusions review.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. An increasing number of pupils are being excluded from our schools, and 60% of our prisoners were excluded when in our education system. What action is the Ministry of Justice taking to work with the Department for Education to provide serious support to those who have experienced exclusion and are at risk of offending?

As I briefly mentioned, my officials and I have already engaged with the Department for Education’s exclusions review, submitting an analysis by the Ministry of Justice on the correlation between offenders and exclusions. Key to tackling this issue is joined-up working across government and agencies. I heard about this issue on a recent visit to Hackney youth offending team. I will continue to work closely with Ministers and other Departments to develop measures to support the exclusions review when it reports.

20. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to come in on this question. Scotland aims to be the world’s first trauma-aware nation by considering the link between adverse childhood experience and future offending, so will the Minister look at the work being done in Scotland to break the cycle of offending and imprisonment of some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society? (907008)

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. I am always happy to look at the devolved nations for examples of best practice from which we might learn. She is right to highlight the links in this area, which is one reason why, in the victims strategy, we allocated moneys to support children who have witnessed domestic abuse in their past—to help to break that cycle and give them a chance of recovery.