Social justice and the needs of disadvantaged pupils examined

02 February 2018

The Education Committee has published written evidence for its inquiry into Alternative Provision and will hold its second evidence session, with a focus on social justice and the needs of disadvantaged pupils in school alternatives.

The Committee hears from representatives of organisations working with groups of disadvantaged young people, as well as Drew Povey, Head teacher at Harrop Fold School (featured in Channel 4’s Educating Manchester).


Tuesday 6 February in Committee Room 15, Palace of Westminster

At 10am - Panel one

  • Matthew Dodd, Co-coordinator and Policy Advisor, Special Educational Consortium
  • Cath Kitchen, Chair, National Association of Hospital and Home Teaching
  • Jane Pickthall, Chair, National Association of Virtual School Heads

At 10.45am - Pane two

  • Val Gillies, Professor of Social Policy and Criminology, University of Westminster
  • Kevin Kibble, CEO, The Nurture Group Network
  • Drew Povey, Headteacher, Harrop Fold School

Written evidence 

The Education Committee received 85 evidence submissions for its inquiry. These are published on the Committee's inquiry publications page. This included submissions from a range of organisations such as Ofsted, the National Association of Virtual School Heads, and The Princes Trust, as well as groups such as the AP Network, Essex County and Leeds City councils, providers including Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service and the London South East Academies Trust and unions including the NAHT and NASUWT.

Purpose of the session

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"Some of the most disadvantaged young people in our society are educated through alternative provision and the unerring focus of the Education Committee is to establish whether they are receiving the best possible support. Written evidence to the Education Committee points to issues about the quality of teaching, poor provision of resources for students, and how outcomes for pupils are measured.

On Tuesday, we will hear directly from witnesses who work with disadvantaged young people who are disproportionately excluded from school, or who have particular needs that need to be met by schools. We will want to find out the basis for these exclusions and how schools are meeting, or perhaps failing, to meet these young people’s needs. We will also want to hear about the ways in which pupils can be supported in school rather than being placed in alternative provision.  

As a Committee dedicated to promoting social justice, it is vital that we improve educational outcomes and life chances including for those who study in alternative provision. Every student, whatever their background, should be given the chance to climb the educational ladder of opportunity."

Pupil Referral Units

Alternative Provision is provided in settings such as Pupil Referral Units and educates pupils who are outside of the mainstream school system for a variety of reasons, such as school exclusion, school refusal or illness. 

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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