I have previously met with representatives of the Children's Society to discover for myself the incredible work they do supporting vulnerable children across England and Wales, and I hope that I can assure you every effort is being made to support vulnerable children and young people through their education and late teenage years. These years can be particularly volatile for many teenagers and it is incredibly important for local services to provide continuity of care from the transition from childhood to adulthood.
The Government has announced a programme of work to improve our understanding of the educational experiences and outcomes of all children with additional needs and those who live in challenging circumstances. The Department for Education has been and is continuing to engage with relevant Departments such as the Department of Health and Social Care.
The Government also announced a review into school exclusions. This will help the Department for Education to understand how and why schools use exclusion, what drives the variation in exclusion rates and, in particular, the disproportionate exclusion rates of some groups - including black Caribbean boys, Children in Need, Looked After Children and those with Special Educational Needs
Children excluded from school are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system and I would like to echo the Education Secretary in saying that we must make sure that every child, whatever their background, should have access to a world-class education which prepares them for life in the modern world. I believe this review will shine a light on how exclusions are used throughout the country and will suggest how to improve educational outcomes for children who face acute challenges in their lives. It will explore and identify effective practice, which can be shared across the system.
A £4 million grant-funding programme has been launched to support and develop projects that seek to deliver better outcomes for children in alternative provision (AP), and provide an opportunity to share effective practice across the sector. This investment will also encourage parents to have greater involvement in their children's education and support children moving from alternative provision into post-16 education or training, so they reach adulthood, ready to take the opportunities in front of them and succeed in later life.