Thursday 8 March 2012

Government Advisor's Report on Improving Alternative Education Provision

When I was previously Cabinet Member for Children at the County Council I was involved in the development of a different approach to managing alternative tuition in schools (which in very brief terms means dealing with children who for whatever reason are struggling to scope with mainstream schools). This approach involved devolving finances for the management of these children back to schools to encourage them to take better responsibility for their decisions.  Whilst I did occasionally have to stand up and be counted to defend our plans, there was overall a huge amount of support and some excellent listening, working and leadership from officers in Cambridgeshire and from secondary head teachers in our County.  Because of this it is now a system that works well, with many fewer students being excluded and sent to Pupil Referral Units and an overall reduction in costs.

I was delighted to be told today that our approach has been recognised as an example of good practice in a report by Charlie Walker, the Government's Expert Advisor on Behaviour. (The reference to Cambridgeshire can be found on Page 11 of the report)

I hope lots of officers and teachers around the County are patting themselves on the back today for the work they have done - it is an example of a direct link between innovation and the improvement of people's lives.   That's the sort of thing we as Councillors should be about.

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