PREVENTIVE APPROACHES TO EXCLUSION THROUGH POSITIVE REFERRALS
Situated at the heart of the eastern region of England, Cambridgeshire covers
304,357ha and stretches fifty miles from the counties abutting London in the South,
almost to the Wash in the north, forming the western edge of East Anglia. The university
town of Cambridge is just 54 miles from London by road and rail routes link this part of
the region to London, Harwich, Felixtowe, the Midlands and the North. Stansted,
London's expanding third airport, is less than 30 minutes drive from Cambridge.
Cambridgeshire's population is 547,300 (based on 1999 census data) and it is the
fastest growing county in England and Wales. Actual population increases have been
approximately 5,000 per year (nearly 1%) over the last 10 years (mostly by migration).
This level of population increase will be maintained for the next five years and probably
continue thereafter. The overall number of primary school pupils is forecast to decline
by 1,500 (3.4%) over the next four years but with growth at some locations. Secondary
numbers seem likely to increase by about 2,400.
Regional Planning Guidance expects Cambridgeshire to accommodate a minimum of
4,000 homes a year to 2016. The focus for this growth is particularly strong in the South
of the County where the economy is buoyant and thriving in contrast to the relatively
deprived rural areas in the north around Wisbech.
(Source: Adapted from AMP 2001)
A priority for Cambridgeshire LEA is to improve educational access and participation as
a vehicle for promoting social inclusion. As a large rural shire county, Cambridgeshire
LEA is rightly proud of its schools in supporting pupils to remain in mainstream education
and avoid exclusion. Permanent exclusions in primary and secondary schools have
fallen over the last six years and remain significantly below national levels For the last
two years no permanent exclusions have been made from the 207 schools in the
primary sector and fixed term exclusions have fallen. In the secondary sector only eight
permanent exclusions were made between 2002/3 from 31 schools.
The preventive approach to exclusions in Cambridgeshire has a number of strands
In- school support to schools through the Cambridgeshire Secondary Support and
In – school Learning Support Units in identified secondary schools to add to school
Use of the Pupil Referral Centres as augmented Key Stage 4 provision for pupils at
risk of exclusion
Multi-disciplinary approaches to providing support for pupils with complex needs
It is this multi-faceted and flexible approach to support, described below, which enables
so many pupils in Cambridgeshire to complete their education successfully.
LEA Support Services
THE CAMBRIDGESHIRE PRIMARY SUPPORT SERVICE
In order to provide maximum support to schools and to promote inter-agency working,
the Primary Support Service has recently been re-modeled and is now based on Primary
Care Trust boundaries. The Team provides specialist support for speech and language,
autism and behaviour and is made up of teachers, Teaching Assistants together with a
Senior Lead Practitioner for each of the four areas of Cambridgeshire.Strong multi-
disciplinary links are a feature of working practices in order to ensure children and their
families have access to a seamless service.
In order to provide maximum support to schools, Cambridgeshire LEA runs a central
Primary Support Service staffed by specialist teachers and assistants, who work in
school for an allocated number of hours each week with children at Action, Action Plus
or who have statements. Each school receives hours based on numbers and AEN.
Support includes advice, assessments, teaching and training across all four areas of
need in the SENCOP. In addition, a small number of emergency response hours allow
managers to negotiate short term additional support for targeted children.
The service works inter and intra-agency with professionals from other education
services, and colleagues in health and social services.
THE CAMBRIDGESHIRE SECONDARY SUPPORT AND INCLUSION SERVICE
This is a county service, which operates from a number of area bases. The Service
offers all secondary schools:
In-school support and support for re-integration
Access to out of school provision (for periods in excess of one term schools are
charged pro rata AWPU
In – school support and support for re-integration at Key Stage 3
In – school support (ISS) consists of a named teacher for each secondary school to
enable them to work effectively with difficult to manage pupils. Approximately one and a
half days weekly are allocated to each school. Part of the remit of the In-school Support
Teacher (ISST) is to offer a range of intervention strategies to pupils and teachers to
ensure that school breakdown is avoided. This includes one to one pupil support, group
work.classroom observation, staff support and liaison with other agencies. The ISST will
also provide advice to schools on exclusions, Pastoral Support Programmes and out of
school provision. Where a change of school is thought to be in a pupil’s best interests,
the ISST will also support re - integration as part of a managed move at Key Stage 3.
Support for In –Service training can be provided by the ISST for individual schools or
from the Service generally. The Service is able to provide support to schools in
managing difficult behaviour, anger management, anti- bullying, Peer Mentoring
Training, conflict management and handling aggression. NQT training is provided
annually on an area basis. There is also a programme to support the training of
Out of school provision
For pupils at Key Stage 4 who are unable to access the traditional mainstream
curriculum, provision is made within five Pupil Referral Units across Cambridgeshire.
Pupils attend on either a full or part time basis and are identified wherever possible prior
An excellent example of one such provision is The Amber Centre, which is housed in
modern, well-equipped accommodation in the centre of Huntingdon.The Amber Centre,
caters for fifty Year 10 and 11 pupils who are the subject of positive referrals to the
Centre by their schools. Most Pupils remain on the role of their schools and enter into an
agreement with the Amber Centre to provide an augmented curriculum.
The Centre provides a flexible educational setting where all teaching is in small groups.
The Centre operates as a school with a core curriculum together with an extended
learning curriculum aimed at re-engaging learning and preparing pupils for adult life.
Support is provided to pupils to assist them in coping with Key Skills, social situations
and their personal lives. Firm boundaries are set to promote good behaviour and to
secure a sense of personal responsibility. The ethos within the Centre is one of praise
and encouragement, where pupils are able to experience success in whatever
programme is appropriate to their needs.
Off site learning is an integral part of the curriculum at the Amber Centre and is achieved
through a variety of educational opportunities which include:
Community Contribution Projects
Physical education at Sports Centres
All pupils leave the Amber Centre with a Record of Achievement and Progress File.
MULTI – AGENCY SECONDARY SCHOOL PANELS
Cambridgeshire is characterised by a positive approach to multi-agency working. One
good example of this is the Multi-Agency Panel attached to each of the seven secondary
schools in Huntingdonshire. Each Panel meets half-termly. The intention is to
“ Find joined up ways forward for pupils with complex problems for whom the usual
referral routes are not appropriate, or have been tried and found to be unsuccessful “
Membership of the Panel is as follows:
Member of the school SMT
In – School Support Teacher
Social Services Team Manager
Youth Offending Service
Referrals are made on a common inter- agency referral form and are accompanied by
an educational profile together with a questionnaire jointly completed by the
school/pupil/parent. Referrals can only be made with the permission of the pupils.
Meetings last approximately two hours with a maximum of four referrals .An Action Plan
will be produced for each referral and a Key Worker identified from the group to ensure
Work is currently underway to extend this joint working with the formation of a Multi –
Agency Service across Huntingdonshire for children and young people with behavioural
problems. The management of exclusion, and the consistently below average number so
of exclusions shows the benefits of the approach, school involvement and range of
provision in a large County.
For further information contact
Deputy Head of Service
Tel 01480 375650
CASE STUDY DATE: August 2003