‘Worrying rise’ in number of children with autism being expelled or suspended from school

The Independent reports that the number of times youngsters with autistic spectrum disorder were permanently excluded rose by more than a third in 12 months, while fixed term exclusions increased by around a quarter, according to statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE).

One charity said it was “very worrying” that recorded exclusions for these children were rising, as it warned it was concerned pupils were also being excluded from lessons unofficially.

The data showed that in the 2015/16 academic year, children recognised as having autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), were given fixed term exclusions on 9,040 occasions. This was up around 24.7% from 7,250 suspensions the previous year (2014/15).

In addition, youngsters with this recognised special educational need were permanently excluded on 150 occasions in 2015/6, up 36.4% from 110 the previous year. The data does show an increase in the number of pupils with ASD, from around 90,780 in 2014/15 to about 100,010 in 2015/16.

Elizabeth Archer, campaigns and policy director at Ambitious about Autism, said: “Children and young people with autism deserve equal access to education so it is very worrying that the number of recorded exclusions for these children is going up.

“We hear about children who are sent home early, or asked not to come in for school trips, and who as a result are missing out on vital learning experiences.”

“Failing to record an exclusion is unlawful, and parents tell us that when this happens they don’t know where to go for help.”

The charity has published new guidance for parents giving advice on what counts as an unlawful exclusion and how they can hold schools to account if they think their child has been excluded illegally.

Read more ‘Worrying rise’ in number of children with autism being expelled or suspended from school

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