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(UK) London schools excluding SPED to help test scores; MORE children diagnosed with disabilities

Sept 26, 2019, Evening Standard: London schools denying special needs children to help league tables London schools are refusing places to children with special educational needs to protect their position in exam league tables, a report found today. Research showed a “significant number” of state schools were rejecting pupils with learning disabilities or preventing them from taking exams to maintain schools’ overall pass rate. The report called on watchdog Ofsted to hold schools accountable, and said “evidence shows that many schools across London are not fostering an inclusive culture”. There are almost 172,000 pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) in mainstream education in the capital and the number is growing year-on-year…. A snapshot survey conducted by researchers into just two months of admissions data from 17 boroughs found 124 incidents of schools refusing or resisting admission to a child with special educational needs, and 25 cases where councils had to intervene - by using Fair Access Panels, informal negotiation or formal warning letters - to ensure a child was admitted to a local school. Headteachers were quoted saying they believe schools with a poorer reputation for exam results end up accepting more pupils with special educational needs because they are denied a place at higher-ranked schools… Nickie Aiken, London Councils’ executive member for schools and children’s services, said: “All too often children with SEND end up being excluded or off-rolled rather than being offered the support they need... The number of children with SEND in London has grown in recent years, so now is the time for all education partners to strengthen our collective commitment to ensuring education is truly inclusive.”


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