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Supporting students who are at risk of exclusion

A child or young person who is on the Special Educational Needs (SEN) register without an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is over six times more likely to be permanently excluded than a child or young person with no identified SEND (DFE data 2016 – 17). Although the reasons behind these exclusions may be complex and different for each ‘SEN Support’ child, each school should use its ‘best endeavours’ to effectively support the child’s needs and take these difficulties into account when considering exclusion. For example, an estimated 36% of children and young people with learning disabilities experience mental health problems – this is compared with 8% among children without disabilities (NICE mental health scoping document, 2012).

Nine primary and secondary schools from across West Sussex volunteered to take part in a SEND Partnership Project to develop practice for a SEN Support child who was at risk of exclusion. Each school used relational based approaches and strategies to improve its focus child’s social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) and sense of belonging within the school. It was hoped that this would then lead to a reduction in challenging behaviours, which are often the main cause of exclusions. This project report is written to share the impact that this work has made to the children and schools involved and to provide schools and settings with a range of strategies they may want to try.

You can view more about the project via the link below:


Thanks, and acknowledgements to Kate Southgate of West Sussex CC for sharing their adapted DFE Risk Assessment forms for primary, secondary and a blank template.

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27 Nov 2018
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