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Schools Work

Education Inclusion Team

The Education Inclusion Team provides advice and guidance to schools, families and professionals in Southwark on exclusions, penalty notices, managed moves and statutory functions relating to school attendance. Further support can be provided for children and young people at risk of permanent exclusion.

School attendance

Attending school regularly means a child or young person can receive a good education. By law, parents and carers must make sure any of their children aged between 5 and 16 (compulsory school age) receive suitable full time education:

Department of Education research has shown that there's a direct link between poor attendance and poor attainment: ‘Analysis shows that as the level of overall absence across the relevant key stage increases, the likelihood of achieving key attainment outcomes at the end of KS2 and KS4 decreases’ (Department For Education (DfE) 2016)

Within Southwark Family Early Help practitioners work using a ‘whole family’ approach to provide a holistic service to improve attendance and punctuality and reduce unauthorised absences and improve educational outcomes for our children.

The Education Inclusion Team is responsible for delivering upon Southwark’s statutory duties in relation to school attendance and exclusion, providing timely interventions when concerns arise. We work with families, schools and practitioners to implement legislation and guidance with the aim of improving children and young people’s attendance and access to education, and to reduce the risk of exclusion.

We use a variety of strategies to fulfil this objective. They may include education legal planning meetings, parenting contracts, education supervision orders, school attendance orders, simple cautions, and/or prosecution. The team includes Senior Education Welfare Officers who can provide targeted assessment and intervention for attendance and inclusion issues.

Penalty notices

Section 23 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 empowers Southwark Council to prosecute parents for failing to ensure their child attends school regularly. It also allows the local authority to issue penalty notices to parents as an alternative to prosecution.

Penalty notices may be issued when parents have taken their children out of school for holidays in term-time without the school’s authorisation. Head teachers are unable to agree a leave of absence during term-time unless they are satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

In Southwark, the Education Inclusion Team discharges the responsibility for issuing penalty notices. A penalty notice requires the parent to pay a fixed amount as a fine for their child’s irregular attendance and to avoid further prosecution. Penalty notices may only be issued in Southwark in accordance with the terms of our Code of Conduct. The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to ensure that this power is applied fairly and consistently across schools in Southwark and that suitable arrangements are in place for the effective and efficient administration of the scheme. Southwark has a Penalty Notice Panel, which schools can attend, that meets every 4-6 weeks. For further information, contact a member of the team directly.

Exclusions

Section 52 of the Education Act 2002 states that the head teacher of a school may exclude a pupil, either for a fixed period, or permanently. 

Every school in Southwark will have its own behaviour policy that outlines the standards of conduct expected of their pupils. Where there is sufficient evidence that a pupil has breached part of this policy then a school may consider exclusion as part of the disciplinary process.

As a parent or carer you will be informed by the school of your child’s exclusion and they must write to within one school day explaining the reason for making this decision. This may also involve a meeting at the school. 

In the case of fixed term exclusions, schools may convene a meeting including the child/young person and parent or carer on the first day back to agree a reintegration plan.

For a permanent exclusion, the head teacher will need to have their decision ratified by the school’s governing body. A Governors Decision Panel will be arranged within 15 school days of the exclusion and this will provide an opportunity for the family to discuss and challenge the decision.

In Southwark we are fully committed to preventing permanent exclusion where possible using a number of processes including restorative work within schools, a Team around the Family Approach and through the use of managed moves. The Education Inclusion Team work in close partnership with schools to offer support and advice to address concerns before a school and young person reach this stage.

Please contact us if you'd like to discuss any concerns in relation to a child or young person affected by the risk of exclusion.

Find more information in the Department for Educations guidance.

Related articles:

Managed moves

A managed move is a voluntary agreement between a school, parent or carer and a pupil to change school or education provision. This must be with the consent of all those involved along with an agreed plan outlining expectations, the period for review and intended outcomes.

The Education Inclusion Team works closely with Southwark schools and families to provide advice and support around this process. In particular, we work in association with Southwark secondary schools through the local Managed Move Inclusion Panel.  This is chaired on rotation by Southwark Schools.

Not all managed moves are brought to this panel and may be agreed directly between schools and the family, although the Education Inclusion Team is always available to offer help and support to any school or family in Southwark who are considering this option.

Post 16 Options

Post 16 Service provide advice and guidance on education, employment and training for 16 to18 year olds.

 

Page last updated: 12 January 2023

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