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Permanent exclusion for statemented child

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by maggieDD, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    What are the guidelines for permanently exluding a child with a behaviour statement of SEN? I have been working with a child since the beginning of term and the head teacher has told me that if he doesn't behave and stop having tantrums, throwing things, etc, he will be removed from the school.
  2. The guidelines are clear that a statemented child should only be permanently excluded in the most exceptional circumstances (para 64, 2008 guidance). A permanent exclusion should only occur when there has been a serious breaches of the school's behaviour policy AND if allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school (para 13).
    There is nothing that says statemented pupils cannot be permanently excluded however a statement of SEN may indicate that the pupil also has a disability as defined under the under the Equality Act 2010 (which has superceeded the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and the head would need to be careful to ensure they do not to discriminate against the pupil because of their disability. Not all SEN is a disability but there is a crossover between between the two and many statemented pupils would also have legal protection against disbaility discimination as defined under the Equality Act.
    The 2008 guidance (para 70) states that it is unlawful to exclude a disabled pupil for a reason relating to their disability without justification. This relates to both fixed term and permanent exclusions. The guidance poses four questions in relation to the exclusion and disabled pupils.
    1. Is the pupil disabled? - A disabled pupil is defined as someone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial adverse effect on there ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
    2. Is the exclusion for a reason related to the pupil's disability? - If there a a connection between the pupil's behaviour and the behaviour resulting in the exclusion, this may be considered less favourable treatment for a reason related to the pupil's disability.
    3. Would another pupil, to whom the reason did not apply, be excluded? - A comparison should be made to the behaviour of a pupil who was not disabled and whether they would be treated the same way if they behaved the same way.
    4. Can the exclusion be justified? - A exclusion of a disabled pupil for a reason related to their disability can only be justified if there is a 'material' and 'substantial' reason for it. This could include maintaining the order and discipline in the school however for the exclusion to be justified it would have demonstrate that all reasonable adjustments had been made. If it was shown that further reasonable steps could have been taken then the exclusion cannot be justified and maybe deemed as discrinatory.
    Paragraphs 63-72 of the 2008 exclusion guidance covers pupils with SEN and disabilities. Heads are required to have regard to this guidance when deciding to exclude a pupil. Failure to have proper regard to this could lead to a discipline committee or independent appeal panel overturning the decision.
    If you search online for the 2008 school exclusion guidance you will find a copy, which you can read for yourself.
    Claims for disability discrimation in relation to fixed period exclusions are heard by SENDIST. In relation to permanent exclusions this is heard by the independent appeal panel.
    Schools can exclude statemented pupils however they have to be careful that in doing so they are not discrimiating against them under disability discrimination legislation and that they have made all reasonable adjustments to meet the pupils needs.
    Generally the ideal way statemented pupils are dealt with should not be via the disciplinary route but rather via the SEN review process. If the school feels it is currently unable to meet the pupils needs because the SEN are beyond what the school can meet then they should liaise with the SEN team at the LA and conduct an interim review. The aim of this will be to see if additional support can be given to the school to support the pupil or see whether the specialist provision is more appropriate. To get either the school will have to evidence how it is unable to meet the pupils needs with the resources it is allocated at the moment.


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