16 Nov


I’ve moved offices again this week. I’m still at New Bridge but have transferred to the other side of a corridor.

My new office is approximately 1.5 metres by 2 metres – it used to be a cupboard! I’m feeling like a character in one of JK Rowling’s novels. It’s interesting that I appear to be moving to smaller and smaller accommodation, I hate to think what my next move will look like.

Anyway, while this week’s news has been dominated by Brexit, many of you may have missed the focus that the BBC has had on Alternative Provision. I watched quite a harrowing piece on an independent, alternative provision provider (available here).

I found it quite disturbing on a number of levels.

Firstly, these young people appear to have been so totally failed by the education system. I led some training on Tuesday evening at a high school in a neighbouring authority. We were able to explore the restrictions that mainstream schools are working under; the restrictions around what schools can now teach, the restrictions on when staff are able to intervene, the restrictions within the budget and the restrictions for staff to be able to spend time with children and young people to really get to know them. What amazed me was the massive financial amounts mentioned in the BBC film. They suggested that when the system fails the young people, the costs incurred (as the child becomes an adult) can easily total more than £400k. The economic cost doesn’t include the emotional turmoil that the young person will also, no doubt, go through.

Secondly, there appeared to be a lack of “risk taking” within the curriculum offer itself. Where are the pathways, the pre-internships, where is the community-based learning?

Some of these children and young people are the hardest to reach within our communities. I am a firm believer that the majority of solutions should be found within the state funded system, whether that be at mainstream schools, academies or at local authority Pupil Referral Units. We must “quality assure” provision for some of our most vulnerable people. The independent sector should be utilised to support where LAs and MATs do not have the appropriate provision – not for children and young people with low incidence disabilities or specific needs.

Have a great weekend everyone,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here