Southwark launches charter to help every child stay in education

18 July 2022

In 2020, Southwark Council agreed a clear objective for 100 percent inclusion in education for its students. Launched at the Keeping Children in Education conference, the aspiration is to ensure that children are always included in education and that provision is available for a wide range of complex educational needs, alongside superb mainstream provision.

The council, working closely with head teachers and partners represented on the local safeguarding board, is launching its Inclusion Charter this month, set to be agreed at Cabinet today, 18 July. The Charter spells out the collective aspiration of the council, local schools and partners in the safeguarding board for 100 percent inclusion of children in education that keeps them safe and enables them to flourish.

If agreed, Southwark will be the first local authority to have launched an education inclusion charter. This will mean that the council, local schools and everyone represented on the safeguarding board will work together to keep every child in education. The strategy will be rolled out in all schools in the borough with a focus on preventing exclusion and supporting children above all else to eradicate the issue of children missing from education.

In 2017-18, Members were rightly concerned about a steep increase in permanent school exclusions. There were 49 pupils excluded from school in 2018, but in 2019, this was reduced to 36 and by 2020, the number was 10. This reduction of permanent exclusions reflects excellent partnership working between the council, schools and families.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for children, young people and education, said: “With over 95 per cent of schools at good or outstanding quality, we are really proud of our education offer. But we know that not every child finds mainstream education fits their needs. So we are here for those children especially – if they need particular support, either within the mainstream school setting, or in specialist education, and what we want to avoid at all costs, is exclusion, and children being left in a no-man’s-land where parents feel they have no choice but to try to educate their children themselves. This often proves an impossible challenge for families and leaves children vulnerable to falling out of society. This is why we want the Inclusion Charter to keep them in formal education of all kinds – to be safe, to succeed, to flourish and to enjoy their education.”

Southwark Council is proud to have 95 per cent good and outstanding schools, helping its children and young people to attain at the same level as their counterparts in well-heeled boroughs. The council’s programme of school investment means that the buildings Southwark’s students learn in reflect the high quality of education and calibre of teaching staff. Investment is made not just in mainstream education, but in specialist education too – the recently constructed RIBA award-winning SILS building, demonstrates what provision for children at risk of missing education should look like.

Read the cabinet paper here.

Page last updated: 18 July 2022

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