New scrutiny reveals worst schools in Milton Keynes for excluding pupils with special needs

The rates of exclusion are ‘disproportionately high’ for SEND children
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Research by an independent group of parents and carers has shown the worst and best secondary schools in MK for excluding youngsters with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

SEND children are well-known to be disproportionately excluded from school, says the Milton Keynes Parents and Carers Alliance (PACA).

The group studied exclusion figures over a five year period for all the city’s secondary schools, using data gleaned from a Freedom of Information request to MK Council as well as examples from PACA’s database of case studies from local families.

Children with special needs are disproportionately excluded from schools, says PACA MKChildren with special needs are disproportionately excluded from schools, says PACA MK
Children with special needs are disproportionately excluded from schools, says PACA MK

The figures covered pupils on SEN support and those with an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan), together with exclusion rates for children with no SEND. And the final report reveals the concerning extent of “over-exclusion” of special needs pupils across Milton Keynes.

It found pupils on SEN Support were five times more likely to be excluded than those with no SEND. On average they were excluded for five times more days in total.

Top of the league table for the highest number of SEN exclusions was Stantonbury School, where the number of excluded days per 100 such pupils per year was 110.5.

This was followed by Sir Herbert Leon in Bletchley with 85.2 and Kents Hill Park school with 83.6.

For pupils with an EHCP, top of the exclusion league table was Ousedale school in Newport Pagnell. Here, EHCP children were 10time more likely to be excluded than those with no SEND.

These youngsters were also excluded for longer – 13 times more days in total – and were 20 times more likely to be given a Fixed Term Exclusion (FTE) of over five days.

Medium excluders for SEN and EHCP pupils were named as Walton High, Radcliffe, St Pauls and Lord Grey.

The lowest exclusion rates for these groups came from Shenley School, Oakgrove, Denbigh, MK Academy, Hazeley and Denbigh.

The school with the highest exclusion rate for pupils with no SEN was Sir Herbert Leon. There was there was a massive 100-fold difference in Fixed Term Exclusion (FTE) rates between this school and the lowest-excluding school, say PACA.

A spokesman for the group said: “While schools are allowed to exclude pupils with special needs, the Equality Act effectively requires them to show that they have met the child’s needs in an anticipatory manner.

"Otherwise, to punish a child and withdraw their education, for reasons that flow from their SEND and without having met their needs (in a waythat could have prevented the exclusion), would be to discriminate against them.

"The question is, if schools are providing adequate support, why are rates of exclusion so disproportionately high for pupils with SEND? And why are some schools excluding those vulnerable children for so much longer than other pupils?”Susan Akhtar, Chair of PACA MK, said, “Parents tell us they understand that ensuring safety in schools is paramount, but that meetings pupils’ needs would be more effective than punishing them. Our report shows that schools in MK take very different approaches to tackling this problem”

PACA MK is is open to parents and carers of children and young people aged 0 to 25 years old, with disabilities or additional needs. You can read their full report on exclusions here.

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