The Department for Education (DfE), has reminded schools of the dates by which they must submit their exclusion data. Schools use their DfE sign-in to access the web-based COLLECT (Collections Online for Learning, Education, Children and Teachers) system and submit their data.
The DfE warns against delay:
All local authorities are expected to return their data to the department by the statutory return date of Wednesday 2 February 2022. Extensions will not be granted.
The data is due to be published “in summer 2022” and will feed into department policy making.
A Missed opportunity for SEND?
There are 25 data fields and none captures whether the excluded child had SEND. The closest is a question on the “number of independent reviews where a special educational needs (SEN) expert was requested;” but this is only when a) an independent review was requested, and b) a SEN expert was requested.
This is a terrible wasted opportunity given the government’s own Timpson review struggled to decipher the precise number of pupils who had been excluded due to SEN. In the end Timpson was forced to bucket SEN in with other factors leading to a generalised statement of SEN being disproportionately represented in school exclusions.
There is a lot that is good with Timpson, but its failure to recommend capturing a specific SEN data point in exclusions (not just at appeals) is a failure. It is not clear whether SEN charities and activists made such representations.
Back to Square One
Timpson’s general statement on SEN exclusion is supported by swathes of anecdotal evidence of SEN children being excluded formally or informally as a convenient way to off-roll “difficult” or “resource-intensive” pupils. We at SDT will be writing to Edward Timpson and the Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb to seek clarification and what the reasons are for a failure to capture this vital data point.
If your child is facing exclusion be sure to read our explainer on the expected reasonable adjustments a school must first have made for SEND children. Of course for a full discussion with the law and context, you might want to pick up SEN & EHCP, available to buy here.