Children with SEN are nine times more likely to be excluded from school than those with no identified special need. A new report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England describes as “unacceptably high” the correlation between a pupil’s special needs and the likelihood of permanent exclusion. It also points to very high levels of exclusions related to gender and ethnicity.
The report is critical of some teacher training, saying that some newly qualified teachers have not received adequate instruction to manage the behavioural issues of a pupil population with a wide range of needs.
Strong leadership and high expectations of pupils’ behaviour are cited as key factors in schools that were found to be managing needs effectively. The report says that best practice in managing pupil behaviour should be shared more widely among schools and that schools should clearly understand their duties regarding exclusions.
“We can reduce the number of young people who are permanently excluded by learning lessons from schools that are good at managing the needs of their pupils”, said the Commissioner, Maggie Atkinson.
Responding to the report, Elizabeth Archer, from the learning disability charity Mencap, called on schools to do more to promote inclusion and fulfil their obligation to meet the needs of all pupils, whatever their academic ability. “Children with a learning disability are not second class pupils who can be shunted aside as an inconvenience”, she said.
The Children’s Commissioner’s report, They Go The Extra Mile, is available at: