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Proposed new guidance on exclusions to be finalised for September
  • katykins
    Posts: 52
    Dear All

    This may be useful - lots of info, but the enclosed link is to the proposed new guidance on exclusions to be finalised for September. The consultation is now under consideration, but it is likely that most of this will be in the new guidance when it is issued. Also enclosed for information is the consultation document which highlights the proposed changes. statutory guidance 2017.pdf Guidance 2017 consultation document.pdf

    Of particular note (1st link page 12):
    20. Early intervention to address underlying causes of disruptive behaviour should include an assessment of whether appropriate provision is in place to support any SEN or disability that a pupil may have. The head teacher should also consider the use of a multi-agency assessment for a pupil who demonstrates persistent disruptive behaviour.

    Such assessments may pick up unidentified special educational needs but the scope of the assessment could go further, for example, by seeking to identify mental health or family problems.

    Statutory guidance to the head teacher on the exclusion of pupils from groups with disproportionately high rates of exclusion

    21. The exclusion rates for certain groups of pupils are consistently higher than average. This includes: pupils with SEN; pupils eligible for free school meals; looked after children; and pupils from certain ethnic groups. The ethnic groups with the highest rates of exclusion are: Gypsy/Roma; Travellers of Irish Heritage; and Caribbean pupils.

    22. In addition to the approaches on early intervention set out above, the head teacher should consider what extra support might be needed to identify and address the needs of pupils from these groups in order to reduce their risk of exclusion.Statutory guidance to the head teacher on the exclusion of pupils with education, health and care plans (EHC plans) and looked after children.

    23. As well as having disproportionately high rates of exclusion, there are certain groups of pupils with additional needs who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of exclusion. This includes pupils with EHC plans and looked after children. The head teacher should, as far as possible, avoid permanently excluding any pupil with an EHC
    or a looked after child.

    24. Schools should engage proactively with parents in supporting the behaviour of pupils with additional needs. In relation to looked after children, schools should cooperate proactively with foster carers or children’s home workers, the local authority that looks after the child and the local authority’s virtual school head.

    25. Where a school has concerns about the behaviour, or risk of exclusion, of a child with additional needs, a pupil with an EHC plan or a looked after child, it should, in partnership with others (including the local authority as necessary), consider what additional support or alternative placement may be required. This should involve
    assessing the suitability of provision for a pupil’s SEN. Where a pupil has an EHC plan, schools should consider requesting an early annual review or interim/emergency review.
  • PDA_ASD_Parent
    Posts: 4,188
    "The head teacher should also consider the use of a multi-agency assessment for a pupil who demonstrates persistent disruptive behaviour."

    Trouble is with the parent blame culture amok among professionals, multi-agency means many professionals who don't have a clue about autism or it's varying presentations and sadly this is likely to result in quite a few being undiagnosed and the parents accused of poor parenting or worse.
  • Hi all

    This consultation has now closed. It fell far short of my expectations as I believed this was the consultation The Govt promised in response to the call to amend the Equality Act (see forum messages on Equality Loophole and Autistic Children).

    The National Network of Parent Carer forums put in a response to the exclusion guidance consultation from the perspective of SEND children. I sent my own response in from perspective of parent of a PDA child.

    The main problem with these proposed guidance notes is that they are guidelines around what is flawed legislation. They do nothing to close the equality loophole nor address the fundamental lack of understanding prevailing in schools on all things ASD (much less PDA).

    Until there is better (regular and repeated) training on ASD within school we will still see school staff & environment raising anxiety in our ASD children. And for those who present with PDA this will inevitably lead to exclusions.

    Even where schools understand, this guidance still only makes the recommendation of 'should' rather than 'must'. Schools have conflicting pressures which do not work in favour of supporting our children. Current exclusion legislation allows for HT to exclude up to 50 days in a school year before any other intervention has to be considered... I saw the damage that just a few days of exclusion did to my child's mental health. In fact the law on exclusions does nothing to help change things even for Neurotypical delinquents...what chance our ASD children!

    For what it is worth I will be copying my personal response to both Edward Timpson mp and Martin Vickers mp (as well as whoever takes the role of Children & Families minister should the Government change colour). I will leave that letter until after the nonsense that is a period of purdah, just in case it gets 'filed'.

  • PDA_ASD_Parent
    Posts: 4,188
    @oldandworn out exactly! The whole lot is flawed. I have for a long time stated that all the shoulds and no musts are a big problem.

    Funnily enough, I had emailed the DfE about failings towards SEN children, in particular autistics. They took so long to reply I forgot I had emailed! I received a reply over a month later - today, with the usual generic blurb - I copy and paste their reply and mine to that, below.

    "Thank you for your email of 30 March, addressed to the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, about children with special educational needs or a disability (SEND). I apologise for the delay in replying.

    I am sorry to read of the difficulties some parents have had in securing the right support for their children but I am unable to comment on specific articles published in the press or online. I can assure you that this department’s vision for children with SEND is the same as that for all children and young people – that they achieve well in their early years, at school and in college; find employment; lead happy and fulfilled lives; and experience choice and control.

    Reforms brought in by the Children and Families Act 2014 build on best practice developed over many years and represent the biggest change to SEND support in a generation. They are transforming the support available to children and young people with SEND by joining up services for 0-25 year olds across education, health and social care and by focusing on positive outcomes for education, employment, housing, health and community participation. The reforms are designed to ensure that services consistently deliver a positive experience of the system for children; and effective preparation for adulthood.

    Since September 2014, our SEN and disability reforms have seen the introduction of:

    · Published local offers for each local area, setting out in one place information about the provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people who have SEND.

    · Information, Advice and Support Services, to enable families to access the help they need;

    · More streamlined needs assessment processes, co-ordinated across education, health and care;

    · New integrated EHC plans for those with more complex needs.

    · New statutory protections for 16-25 year olds in further education, including the right to ask for an EHC plan assessment; the right to ask for mediation and have recourse to a tribunal.

    · The right for young people and parents of children who have EHC plans to request a personal budget from their local authority;

    · A strong emphasis on preparing for adulthood, including employment, independent living and community participation and good health;

    · A review of disagreement resolution arrangements including a pilot testing powers for the Tribunal to make non-binding recommendations on health and social care – in addition to its existing power to make binding orders in respect of decisions about special educational needs and provision; and

    · a revised SEND code of practice which sets out in detail these duties, rights, and requirements.

    We have invested heavily in practical and financial support for implementation of the reforms. To ensure they are working, since May 2016, all local areas (both local authorities and health providers) have been subject to inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Inspection is looking at effective identification of need; effectiveness in meeting needs; and local arrangements to achieve better identification and outcomes. All 152 local areas in England will be inspected over a period of five years and inspection reports are published on both the Ofsted and CQC websites.

    We have received positive feedback from parents and students that the reforms have meant that students are receiving better support, that the process of getting support is much more straightforward and that their views are being taken into account more fully in assessment and reviews of children with SEND.

    If you or another parent of a child with SEND is unhappy with the service received by the local authority, you have the right to make a formal complaint. Most local authorities publish their formal complaints procedure on their website. If parents are unhappy with the support their child receives, they may be able to refer their case to the SEND Tribunal. More information on this can be found at:

    Once again, thank you for writing on this important matter. I appreciate that this reply will not assuage all of your concerns but I hope it helps to reassure you that the department is committed to providing appropraite support for children with SEND.

    Your correspondence has been allocated reference number .... If you need to respond to us, please visit: and quote your reference number.

    As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at:"

  • PDA_ASD_Parent
    Posts: 4,188

    "thank you for your reply, which because it's so late I cannot recall the exact details of my previous response to the DfE.

    However, no matter what the DfE's vision is, the facts are, on the ground things are not matching up for a majority (not just some) families. Otherwise, how do you explain such findings as the National Autistic Society's School Report:

    "In 2015, 75 per cent of parents who responded to our survey said that it had not been easy to get the educational support their child needs, up from 68 per cent from a survey we carried out in 2011 It could have been argued that this was a sign of a new system and over time this number would decrease. However, a year on, 74 per cent are still telling us they have found it difficult to secure the support their child needs. And many are saying they are having to use the legal system to secure the necessary support for their child."

    "Sixty nine per cent of respondents to the survey said their child had waited more than a year after first raising concerns, and 16 per cent had waited more than three years – a similar proportion to previous years, and an indication that the system is still not prioritising early identification and early intervention."

    So I would seriously question whether the sample of families the DfE consulted is in any way representative, and indeed whether particular questions were asked devised to give particular responses. It is well-known that statistics can be manipulated and many state bodies ask questions designed to exclude the actual facts that don't represent them in a good light.

    You ought to read Special Needs Jungle (I know at least some DfE are aware of and read it) because they have analysed CQC and Ofsted inspections and presented the truth to the public.

    "Ofsted/CQC SEND Inspections and Parents: More Than A Feeling?"

    (which especially talks about how parent feedback is collected and the inadequacy of the system as well as the flaws in the inspection processes)

    "Ofsted Local Area SEND Inspectors: The good, the bad & the ugly"

    Any way you look at it, things are not happening the way DfE claims or claims to expect. It's no good listing what is put in place, if the processes aren't working. It's meaningless.

    Having two children with special needs and SENS, both have been grossly failed and I network with a lot of families who say the same. Of course our experiences are borne out by surveys such as the NAS one above.

    Thank you for informing me of SENDIST however I am an old hand at SENDIST, having had to have three of them already. That speaks volumes. And you are missing the point that a huge amount of parents are having to go to SENDIST when they should never have had to in the first place! If LAs are able to abuse the system, that is testament alone that it is not working. There is no real policing of their failures which means policies are set up to enable them to work the system to their own favour and to the detriment of vulnerable children and their families. As the saying goes, you have to speculate to accumulate. The short term thinking evident in so many of these appalling decisions shows that nobody is really thinking of outcomes and valuable contributions to society of these children. So many autistic children suffer mental health breakdowns in the school system due to inclusion not working and failures of mainstream schools to provide the right support (or sometimes any)."

  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586
    For what it is worth I will be copying my personal response to both Edward Timpson mp and Martin Vickers mp (as well as whoever takes the role of Children & Families minister should the Government change colour). I will leave that letter until after the nonsense that is a period of purdah, just in case it gets 'filed'.

    How very true about Purdah ! Oldandwornout good decision suprising what gets filed and the consequences. Just an example below .

    Both my boys were illegally excluded in Scotland . Sadly the bottom line is getting the correct support, diagnosis , and education techniques in the first place .

    Prevention is better than cure .

    Pat xx
  • I can assure you that this department’s vision for children with SEND is the same as that for all children and young people – that they achieve well in their early years, at school and in college; find employment; lead happy and fulfilled lives; and experience choice and control.


    Good old DfE banging on about the wonders of the C&F Act and how this approach will make all the difference. Well maybe one day it will but all the time it relies on good will and following an ethos (shoulds not musts) it may as well be retitled the Chocolate teapot and Fairies Act. Yes, where people have adopted the ethos there have been some really positive changes but the reality is that trying to get some to embrace these changes is like pushing a bolder uphill.

    Complaining to the LA or going thru the nausea of SENDIST does nothing to address the problem when it is a Head Teacher who has all the 'choice and control'. Choice to exclude, choice to decide that a SEND child's behaviours are deliberate and due to poor parenting Choice to ignore C&F Act 'give the child, young person and parent a voice' mantra, choice to ignore diagnosed SEND (after all parent is deluded and child a delinquent) for Control!!! HT can exclude on a whim, phone and expect parent to drop everything to collect the child and be fairly confident that the parent will just accept this....just who has the control!

    Appealing a decision to exclude takes forever and at best will only result in change on child's record and 'reinstatement'. Sorry but the damage has already been done and can not be taken back. You can not airbrush a child's experience. Looking at the exclusions complaints processes it can take at 45 days plus to get to this decision. How does that help where a child has had one or two days exclusion!

    Challenging a HT decision is hardly 'embracing' the 'equal partnership working together' ethos of Act. And who honestly wants their child to attend a school that has been forced to accept them!

    Most of the schools in our borough have converted to Academies so if complaints to governors fail, the parent can escalate to DfE.....Oh boy!

    I will keep you posted of response from DfE. Going by PlanetAutism's experience expect next post to be around Christmas :)
  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586
    Oldandwornout , Which Christmas 2018!!

    Pat xx
  • Ha, doubt they would be that speedy!
  • PDA_ASD_Parent
    Posts: 4,188
    And when it arrives, it won't be a gift that keeps on giving that's for sure...

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