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New exclusions powers

It has often been reported within the media that children and young people with Special Educational Needs are at significantly greater risk of facing exclusion if they Special Educational Needs.

A case was brought to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal, during 2018, concerning an appeal by a family of an autistic child who was excluded from school due to behaviour which was linked to his autism. The First-Tire Tribunal decided that the exclusion was for behaviour, which meant he was not considered to be disabled for the purpose of protection under the Equality Act. This decision rules that Reg4(1) of Equality Act was against human rights law and that schools should not be excluding children on the basis of their behaviour if it is related to their autism.

The First-Tier Tribunal ruled, for the first time that all schools must make sure they have made appropriate adjustments for autistic children, or those with other disabilities, before they can resort to exclusion.  

This was a landmark ruling, giving autism and other disabled children better protection from discrimination at school.

Despite this landmark ruling, recently leaked documents revel Tories’ dramatic plans for schools and increase exclusion powers. The Guardian newspaper, disclosed that the proposal included giving Head teachers new powers to control bad behaviour and more exclusion powers. The result of increases powers could result in increased rates of permanent exclusion, which have in any case been climbing since 2012.

While some people may welcome further crack down of bad behaviour it further increases the risk of children with special educational needs facing exclusion. It appears as if the Government have not enforced the First-Tier Tribunal landmark ruling nor clarify this change in law to schools across the country. 

The leaked documents note police crime commissions are “worried about rates of exclusion driving knife crime” and acknowledges concerns it will impact disproportionately on children in ethic minority backgrounds and those with special educational needs.

If you are experiencing difficulties in relation to exclusion, Special Educational Needs or otherwise then please do not hesitate to contact our specialist education solicitors on 0333 202 7175.