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School Teachers' Review Body

Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the report of the School Teachers' Review Body. [29889]

Estelle Morris: The 2002 report of the School Teachers' Review Body has been laid before Parliament and is available in the Vote Office. I am grateful to the Chair and members of the Review Body for sustaining their important work on the modernisation of the pay system for the teaching profession.

In making their recommendations, the Review Body were required to have regard to:

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I have considered the report carefully against these considerations and am satisfied that they are met. Accordingly I have decided to accept the Review Body's main statutory recommendations subject to consultation. They are in line with the Government's prudent and disciplined approach to public spending and their commitment to deliver high quality public services and low inflation.

My proposals, which will take effect from 1 September 2002 except where stated otherwise, are as follows:

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Pupil Exclusions

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils were excluded in 2000–01 who had previously been excluded from maintained schools. [23419]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not available centrally.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the Government's policy of excluding pupils from schools. [29259]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 22 January 2002]: The Government's current policy on exclusion from schools is set out in sections 64–68 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, and in Circular 10/99, "Social Inclusions: Pupil Support". Head teachers, governors, LEAs and appeal panels should have regard to this guidance in discharging their functions in relation to pupil exclusion.

The Department will be issuing a consultation paper on a draft revision of the guidance this week. The revised draft guidance consolidates the earlier amendments but at the same time represents a thorough revision of the whole text. It supports the right of a head teacher to govern their school as they see fit, ensuring their schools are safe places to learn and teach in. It also puts into place clear guidance to ensure that the sanction of exclusion is not used inappropriately. The existing guidance remains in force until responses to the revised draft guidance are considered and a new version published in the summer.

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Permanent exclusions fell to 8,300 in 1999–2000, a decrease of one fifth from 10,400 in 1998–99 and nearly a third less than the peak of 12,700 in 1996–97. The Government's target of an 8,400 reduction by 2002 has been met. The Government do not intend to set fresh targets for reducing permanent exclusions further. We can now move the agenda on to promoting the fundamentals of good behaviour, and focus on early intervention and the prevention of exclusion.

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