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unofficial exclusions for SEND pupils

19 October 2017

A newly published Ofsted report on special educational needs and disability (SEND) inspections has found that an “alarming number” of parents have said that schools have asked them to take their children home as a way of coping with their needs.

The statutory guidance on exclusions is quite clear that ‘Informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be formally recorded. Schools should commission regular training for senior leaders and governing boards to ensure compliance with the framework.

Unsurprisingly, the report also found that children and young people identified as needing SEND support, but who did not have an EHC plan, were prominent in exclusions data and are particularly vulnerable to exclusion in mainstream secondary schools. In addition to early interventions and multi-agency assessments the statutory guidance requires schools to consider what extra support might be needed to identify and address the needs of SEND pupils in order to reduce their risk of exclusion. Unfortunately the unavailability and delay in the provision of such support from outside agencies can often put schools in very difficult situations.

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