(UK) "Steady increase" in exclusion of mentally ill students form UK schools

Feb 6, 2018, (UK) Schools Week: Zero-tolerance behaviour policies exclude more vulnerable children, MPs told Increases in exclusions are being driven by “shaming” school behaviour policies backed by the Department for Education, experts have warned MPs. Jane Pickthall, chair of the National Association of Virtual School Heads, which oversees children in care policy at local authorities, said that humiliating classroom control techniques made schools “less inclusive” for children in care and those with mental health needs, while another witness claimed zero-tolerance policies may be unlawful because they discriminate against SEND pupils. The committee is in the middle of an inquiry into the quality of alternative provision and rising exclusion levels, prompted by concerns about the lack of oversight in the sector and malpractice in mainstream schools. … Pickthall said that naming and shaming like this caused worse behaviour in pupils “already carrying around a large amount of shame.” … There has been a steady increase in permanent exclusions over the past two years, and the Institute for Public Policy Research warned that at least half of all permanently excluded pupils had a mental illness, with the actual figure “more likely to be 100 per cent” of those excluded. … Matthew Dodd, a policy advisor at the Special Educational Consortium, said that making reasonable adjustments for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities was required by the Equality Act 2010 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (amended in 2005). If schools use a “zero-tolerance” behaviour policy which means they don’t act to ensure SEND pupils have proper support to learn, such policies “might be unlawful”, he said.