(UK) Birmingham: SPED students much more likely to be expelled: House of Commons report

July 30, 2018, Birmingham Live: How vulnerable kids in Birmingham are far more likely to be excluded from school Secondary school pupils in Birmingham are four times more likely to be permanently excluded if they have special educational needs, exclusive analysis has revealed. A damning report from the House of Commons’ Education Committee recently showed that an increasing number of children are being unnecessarily excluded from school and abandoned with an inadequate education. In particular, the report highlighted that children who were already the most vulnerable - such as children with special educational needs (SEN), children in care and children living in poverty - are the most likely to be excluded…. Across state funded secondaries in Birmingham, 58 children with some form of SEN provision were permanently excluded in 2016/17 - 0.56% of all pupils. While a small percentage, that’s four times higher than the exclusion rate for children who did not have any SEN provision. Similarly, children with special educational needs in Birmingham schools are nearly three times more likely to be excluded for a fixed period at least once…. The gap widens even further when it comes to primary schools. While no primary school pupils who did not have an SEN provision were expelled last year, 20 children with special educational needs were…. In Walsall for example, children with special educational needs are 10 times more likely to be permanently excluded than other children. Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, said the figures suggested some schools were “seeking to improve their overall exam results by removing some of their most vulnerable children from the school roll”. But teachers’ unions and charity bosses said it was government cuts in support services that were chiefly to blame…. “Yet the steep increase in exclusions comes as schools struggle to provide appropriate support for pupils that could enable them to retain their school place. ‘This often means children with behavioural problems, mental health issues or special educational needs and disabilities may be placed in alternative provision that doesn’t work for them.” … Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The decision to exclude a student is never taken lightly and always as a last resort. “This is an area where prevention is better than cure, but school budgets are at breaking point so many of the measures that schools take to ensure good behaviour and adequate support for pupils are under threat….

More coverage: July 30, 2018, (UK) 2BR Lancashire: Dishing out school exclusions in Blackburn with Darwen