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informal exclusions – failing the vulnerable?

11 February 2014

A report by an autism charity has highlighted a growing issue with the informal exclusion of children with autism. Informal exclusions from school are unlawful and DfE guidance is clear on that issue. However the report suggests that alongside 20% of parents having their autistic child formally excluded, 40% had been asked to collect their child at an unscheduled time and 30% asked to keep their child at home. The report suggests this highlights a growing concern that schools are unable to support children with complex needs in a mainstream environment and is calling for further guidance on this issue.

Support for children with disabilities and SEN must be a central theme for all schools to ensure all children reach their potential. Current guidance is clear that schools must take all necessary steps to support vulnerable children and by using informal exclusions, schools are failing in this duty. The reasons for this are unclear but it leaves schools open to challenge which can be in no-one’s best interests.

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