Student exclusion; UK schools are unaware of their legal duties when integrating students

Justice group is looking at ways on how to address student exclusion in the education system. They have recommended a complete overhaul of the current system to ensure fair treatment of special needs students.

Schools have been excluding a large number of students with special education needs and disabilities (Send) disproportionately. This student exclusion sometimes has been unlawful and now a law group is looking at ways to address this problem.

The law reform group Justice has proposed a series of suggestions that call for a radical overhaul of these exclusions. The calls have been growing louder from both parents and groups that fight for these students’ rights to proper education. The lack of understanding by schools on this matter has been one of the most challenging aspects of this crisis.

The student exclusion crisis

The group indicated that these schools do not understand their legal duties in this process of exclusion. They also noted that parents willing to appeal against such exclusion matters had little to no knowledge about the appeal process. They also pointed out that the current appeal system that has been put in place is inadequate to handle these cases. Therefore, they have indicated that they want an overhaul of the system.

Schools were not following the equality Act 2010, which requires schools to make adjustments to accommodate Send students. This puts these students at a very high risk of discrimination and exclusion, which the justice group says should be addressed.

Justice has called for training in these schools. They indicated that this would help in reducing the number of student exclusion in schools, equip teachers and staff members with better coping methods and also create school-specific policies that will benefit Send students.

This report comes as concerns mount over the number of students currently being discriminated against. There were 7,905 permanent exclusions in England in 2017-18. This number, however, is much more with other tens of thousands being excluded informally in these schools.

Prof Richard de Friend, who chaired the Justice working party said,

Exclusion can have such a devastating impact on a child’s future that it is vital that exclusion decisions meet all the required statutory standards. We have concluded that at present we cannot be confident that they do because of the weaknesses we have identified in the current procedures.

Experts agree that to solve this problem; there has to be a commitment from the government and education stakeholders. Increased funding to help these students should also be availed. Mental health education and care should also be provided to students who require it. This will help in reducing the current exclusions in schools.


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