Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
Following the publication of the Edinburgh University research on education provision for children and young people educated outside the school setting, I wish to update Members on the background to the report, its recommendations and the next steps.
I postponed issuing a formal response to this report, until we had received the report of the Children and Young People’s Committee Inquiry into Attendance and Behaviour, so that I could consider both reports together in setting future policy direction.
We commissioned this research in response to critical issues that emerged from the National Behaviour and Attendance Review (2008), the Review of Education Otherwise than at School (2011), as well as reports from Estyn and the third sector.
I welcome this research examining the process of exclusion from schools in Wales and the delivery, planning and commissioning of education provision for children and young people educated outside the school setting also known as EOTAS. It is the first comprehensive evaluation of EOTAS provision in Wales and my response to the report will demonstrate our continuing commitment to this agenda.
I am committed to ensuring that children taught outside the school setting will have improved outcomes and the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We will do this by working in partnership with stakeholders to ensure we achieve the best possible outcomes for these children and young people.
The Edinburgh report has identified where improvements can be made in the system. It provides an important benchmark for EOTAS provision. The report contains 22 recommendations for Welsh Government, of which we have accepted 9, accepted 9 in part or in principle and rejected 4.
Our response to the report is an opportunity to address issues regarding communication and guidance; data collection and monitoring; local authority and consortia working; training; and, the independent right to appeal.
My officials will start work on the implementation of the recommendations immediately. This will take into account any links to relevant recommendations coming from the recent Children and Young People Committee Inquiry into Behaviour and Attendance. I will provide an update on progress against these recommendations in a year’s time.