What Can Parents Of Children With SEN Do If They Are Unfairly Excluded From School?
The Law Of… fighting unfair school exclusions
Looking at the 2014/2015 statistics on permanent and fixed-period exclusions in schools, a troubling trend emerges:
- Pupils with identified special educational needs (SEN) accounted for just over half of all permanent exclusions and fixed-period exclusions
- Pupils with SEN support had the highest permanent exclusion rate and were over 7 times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion than pupils with no SEN
There's one big question that these statistics don't seem to address.
Did these schools take into account the fact that different situational factors may have affected the behaviour of children with SEN at the time of the incidents?
Samantha Hale, Associate in Education Law and Community Care, explains what parents can do if their child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SSEN) or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and they have been excluded from school on unfair grounds.
What Can I Do If My Child Has Been Excluded From School On The Grounds Of Bad Behaviour, But Their Behaviour Relates To Their Special Needs?
Schools need to remember that a child’s SEN may heavily influence their ability to manage stress and respond to situations in an ‘appropriate’ manner. They need to recognise these children’s needs and which necessary provisions need to be made to support those needs early on.
It's usually the case that individuals with SEN are not badly behaved; they often do not receive adequate support to allow them to cope within their educational setting.
If your child has been excluded, it's important for you to find out whether their SEN were taken into account before their school decided to exclude them. If you believe that your child has been excluded on unfair grounds, speak to one of our Education Law solicitors or advisors as soon as possible. Acting quickly but effectively in situations like this is essential to make sure that your child doesn't miss out on their education.
What Can I Do If The Provisions In My Child's Statement Of SEN Or EHCP Aren't Right?
It can be really worrying to find out that your child's SSEN or EHCP isn't supporting their learning and development.
We have unfortunately come across many cases where EHCPs and SSENs include provisions that are too vague or are outdated and don’t address the child's current needs, which affects their learning potential.
Appealing against the provisions in your child's EHCP is the most effective way of getting the right type of support in place for their needs. If you're worried that the EHCP doesn't cover the needs of your child, we can advise and guide you through the process.
Samantha explains how Simpson Millar's Education Law solicitors and advisors can help parents:
"Whenever a child with special educational needs is excluded from school on the grounds of bad behaviour, we know how frustrating it can be for parents when they discover that their school failed to take their child's needs into account."
"We also know how hard parents have to fight to get them back into education, and find that many parents often don't know where they can turn for help or what kind of action they can take."
"If you believe that the provisions in your child's EHCP or SSEN aren't addressing their needs, or their school is failing to give them the support they need, we can offer you advice and may be able to represent you at SEND tribunals."