I recently acquired an interest in primary school children being temporarily excluded (ie suspended), because it happened to my own six year old (!) under extremely dubious circumstances. I decided to FOI our council to find out how unusual our story is. Spoiler: it's not
Again, this is primary school children. I asked for more, but Southwark only gave me data for the autumn and spring term of last year. Over two terms, 84 primary school children in Southwark schools got temporarily excluded. How many had Special Educational Needs?*
44! That's more than half, about 52%. Now, government figures suggest that only 13% of primary school children have SEN.
Only 7 have an EHCP in place -this is the legal document that your child needs to guarantee support in school. As in, a vast number of children excluded *from primary school* have SEN and don't have an EHCP, ie additional funding and support legally guaranteed.
Obviously I don't know the circumstances of these cases, but surely this shows that there is a problem here of children with SEN being temporarily excluded as the education system, having put in place heavy gatekeeping of support, then punishes the child when things go wrong
Surely we have to see that something is severely wrong here when more than half of these suspensions are of disabled children, particularly those without support in place. What are these heads thinking as they "temporarily exclude" SEN child after SEN child?
*Throughout I'm using SEN here because it's the terminology schools, local government and central government use, not because I agree with it
For SEN children, the question of who actually manages to get an EHCP and how quickly has a huge role to play, we have spent thousands on getting our kid’s, and first heard of it/knew to apply from a private speech therapist. Inequality is designed into the system