Compared to pupils with no SEN, those with a statement of SEN are around eight times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion and six times more likely to receive a fixed-term exclusion. Although rates remain high, the percentage of pupils with SEN who have been permanently excluded has decreased by 0.04% since 2008-09.
The NAS is concerned about high levels of exclusion amongst children with SEN – 17% of children in our Great Expectations survey had been suspended from school. It’s also important to note that the Department for Education’s figures do not include informal exclusions, where a child is sent home without being ill or officially excluded. One in three parents in our survey had experienced this at some point.
Through our campaign, the NAS wants to ensure that parents have support when challenging the system on behalf of their children, and for local authorities to have enough information about the needs of children with autism in their area to plan effective support. We welcome the fact that the Government’s SEN Green Paper says that where a pupil faces exclusion, multi-agency assessments will be piloted to see whether they help identify any factors behind this, such as unidentified SEN, as this is something that the NAS has called for over many years.
A summary of the Department for Education’s figures and a full PDF download are available at http://education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001016/index.shtml.