Ambitious About Autism – “It is shocking that so many children with SEN are missing out on education”

 school childrenThe Department for Education released on July 30 the report:Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusions in England:2013 to 2014. The full report can be read here.

On page five of the report it is reported that Special Educational Needs (SEN) pupils have the highest rate of permanent exclusion. Stats include:

  • Pupils with special educational needs (SEN) (with and without statements) account for 7 in 10 of all permanent exclusions and 6 in 10 of all fixed period exclusions.
  • Pupils with SEN without statements have the highest permanent exclusion rate and are around 9 times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion than pupils with no SEN.
  • Pupils with statements of SEN have the highest fixed period exclusion rate and are around 9 times more likely to receive a fixed period exclusion than pupils with no SEN.

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, explains the impact on those with autism and their families of schools using exclusion as a way of managing their special needs:

“It is shocking that so many children with SEN are missing out on education. Our Ruled Out campaign research found that four in 10 children with autism in England were illegally excluded from school during a 12-month period.  Despite the gains made by the Ruled Out campaign, it is clear that more needs to be done to support those with pupils with SEN to stay in school.

“The process of getting a statement for your child can be a difficult and confusing process for parents to navigate. However, this report highlights the need for a statement, as those students with SEN but without a statement are more likely to be permanently excluded than those with a statement. More support, advice and information is needed for parents to be able to get the statement and support that they need for their child.

“All schools are legally bound to provide quality full-time education to all pupils, including children with autism. As we provide education services across the UK, we understand how important it is to get the balance right for both staff and parents. However, routinely asking parents to collect their children early or putting them on long-term, part time timetables without a proper support plan to re-integrate them into school is against the law and fails to address the underlying need for schools to make reasonable adjustments to include children with autism.

“We know exclusions also affect a child’s family life. Having to collect a child puts intolerable pressure on parents and their working lives; it severely impacts their financial situation and often makes work impossible. We know schools that can and do support children with autism to learn, thrive and achieve. All schools need to build their capacity to support children with autism and not use exclusions as a way of managing their special needs.”

The full Ruled Out report can be read here. You can also sign up to support the campaign here.

About Ambitious about Autism:

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. The charity provides education, support services, raises awareness and understanding, and campaigns to make the ordinary possible for children and young people with autism.


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