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Report urges early interventions to reduce exclusions of SEND primary students - 30th May 2024

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school children in classroom point to resource held by teacher

Too Young To  Leave Behind, a recent report from the London charity, Chance UK, reveals concerning statistics about the suspension and permanent exclusion of young children from primary school.

The report highlights that out of the 22,000 children aged six years and under who were either suspended or permanently excluded, 97% had Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).


Key Findings

  • 22,000 children aged six years and under were excluded or suspended from primary school
  • 97% of these children had SEND
  • Over 90% of excluded children do not achieve a Grade 4 or above in English and Maths
  • 67% of excluded children were on free school meals

Chance UK states in the report that exclusions "simply do not work" and instead "just pass the problem on to parents, communities, and other schools." The report advocates for early support for struggling children.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary at the school leaders' union NAHT, responded to the research, stating: “Schools work hard to help children secure support when they face challenges in their lives which can impact their behaviour, wellbeing, and academic attainment - but they cannot resolve these complex issues alone."

Whiteman emphasised that suspensions and exclusions are used as "a last resort" to ensure the safety of all pupils and staff. He highlighted that underfunding of vital services such as social care, children’s mental health, and SEND support makes it difficult for schools to access the necessary help for children and families.

He called for increased government investment in essential support services to provide early help and interventions for children before problems escalate.

Find out more: Too Young to Leave Behind

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