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Pupil Exclusions: Special Educational Needs

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he plans to take to reduce the number of exclusions of pupils with special educational needs. (230229)

The Department's statutory guidance on exclusions is clear that, other than in exceptional circumstances, schools should avoid permanently excluding pupils with statements of special educational needs (SEN).

As committed in the Children's Plan, my Department has started work with 13 local authorities which have a relatively good record in reducing exclusions of children with SEN to identify any good practice which can be shared more widely. I anticipate being in a position to disseminate such practice nationally from autumn 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the factors influencing the proportion of children attending pupil referral units who have been assessed as having special educational needs. (230237)

The Department has not commissioned research on the factors influencing the proportion of children attending pupil referral units who have been assessed as having special educational needs.

The latest available information shows the number of pupils with special educational needs educated in pupil referral units as at January 2008. This has been published as tables 1a and 1b of the Departments SFR: Special Education Needs in England 2008 and can be found at

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000794/index.shtml.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans his Department has to collect data on the types of special educational needs of pupils who have been excluded. (230240)

My Department already collects data via the annual Pupil Level School Census on exclusions, and on the primary special educational need (SEN) for pupils who are classified as being at School Action Plus or with a statement of SEN.

It is possible for my officials to draw on these data and cross-analyse primary SEN against exclusion, as I asked them to do in the case of the hon. Member's question (number 230230) of 23 October 2008.

Following the SEN (Information) Act 2008, my Department is considering collecting information on the primary SEN type for children at School Action, in addition to School Action Plus and for pupils with statements of SEN.

Pupil referral units (PRUs) do not make pupil level returns, but a PRU level return is made in January of each year. This does not include information on exclusions nor the primary SEN need of pupils, therefore these data are not available for PRUs. My Department is investigating options for the collection of pupil level data for PRUs.