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This conference examined priorities for alternative provision (AP) in England, as well as the next steps for creating positive behaviour cultures in schools and reducing school exclusions.
It was an opportunity to discuss:
- revised behaviour and permanent exclusion guidance from the Government
- publication of the SEND and AP Green Paper - which proposed a single national SEND and AP system
- the Schools White Paper - which included commitments to improve classroom behaviour
We also expected discussion on the direction for policy following the consultation on the Green Paper proposals, and with the new Prime Minister in place.
The agenda brought out latest thinking on implementing behaviour management strategies in schools, as well as looking at how to tackle persistent absences, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
There was also a focus on tackling permanent exclusions, and how to provide targeted support and early intervention for all students in mainstream settings.
Further sessions looked forward to issues around funding and system capacity, as well as the proposed integration of AP into the local SEND system and improved accessibility.
Overall, the agenda looked at:
- behaviour management in schools: best practice in managing conduct and disruption - priorities for training and supporting staff - addressing implications for attainment
- reducing exclusions: addressing persistent absences - understanding factors outside school - providing early and targeted support - minimising the impact of disruptive behaviour on others
- improving the system: quality and standards in AP and unregistered provision - funding priorities - coordination and links with local SEND systems - accessibility of AP and travel options
- optimising student outcomes: educational attainment strategies - easing integration in and out of mainstream education - supporting the transition to post-16 and pathways to employment
- policy: priorities for alternative provision and implementing the recommendations of the SEND Review
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions from Shaun Brown, Director of Programmes, The Difference; Sarah Johnson, President, PRUsAP; and Founder, Phoenix Education Consultancy; Dr Andrew Malcolm, Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences (Childhood and Youth Studies), University of Bedfordshire; and Sarah Martin-Denham, Associate Professor of Care and Education, University of Sunderland.