Pupils with an EHCP
Where a school has concerns about the behaviour, or risk of suspension and permanent exclusion, of a pupil with SEN, a disability or an EHC plan it should, in partnership with others (including where relevant, the local authority), consider what additional support or alternative placement may be required. This should involve assessing the suitability of provision for a pupil’s SEN or disability (DfE, 2023, p.23).
Where a pupil has an EHC Plan and is at risk of exclusion, schools should seek advice from an external specialist as appropriate and adapt provision at an early stage. Children with EHC plans should not be permanently excluded without an Annual Review being held. Annual review meetings and reports should include recommendations following the input from the external specialists.
Pupils who are looked after (CLA)
Where a looked-after child (CLA) is at risk or likely to be subject to a suspension the Designated Teacher (DT) should contact the local authority’s VSH as soon as possible. (firstname.lastname@example.org) setting out the concerns. Somerset’s Virtual School will work with the DT and others to consider what additional assessment and support needs to be put in place to help the school address the factors affecting the child’s presentation in school and reduce the need for suspension or permanent exclusion. The school should also engage with a child’s social worker, foster carers, or children’s home worker, specifically those who have Parental Responsibility (PR) to ensure the child or young person is appropriately safeguarded and their care supported.
Should a school be considering permanent exclusion of a CLA, contact should always be made at the earliest possible point with Somerset’s Virtual School and the child or young person’s social worker. The Virtual School will always work with the school to explore alternatives to this course of action which can have damaging implications for Children Looked After.
A range of guidance and support materials around suspension and exclusion of Children Looked After are available on Somerset’s Virtual School’s website www.somersetvirtualschool.co.uk
The one-off Breach
It is recognised that occasionally a serious one-off breach of the behaviour policy may occur that leads to an exclusion being considered but where there has not been an opportunity to follow the steps as outlined in this document. It is important to note that in this situation, step 3 remains relevant. Every effort should be made to avoid permanently excluding a pupil where there has been insufficient opportunity to follow steps one and two. Somerset Council promotes the use of restorative practice as part of Trauma-informed Somerset. This endorses the view that pupils should be encouraged and supported to repair harm, learn from mistakes and demonstrate a renewed commitment to the school following a serious one-off breach, and would typically suggest this happens alongside engaging other school-based and specialist support as outlined in this document.
- Equality Act (2010) Equality Act 2010: guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Children and Families Act (2014)
- DfE (2015) SEND Code of Practice 0-25 Years
- DfE (2023) Suspension and Permanent Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England, including pupil movement
- DfE (2022) Behaviour in schools: Advice for headteachers and school staff
- DfE (2023b) Keeping children safe in education 2023 (publishing.service.gov.uk)
- DfE (2022b) Working together to improve attendance
- DfE (2013) Alternative Provision: statutory guidance
- DfE (2018) Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools