To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the National Autistic Society School Report 2021, published on 9 November; in particular, the findings about informal exclusions; and what steps they intend to take in response to ensure that schools do not practice such exclusions.
8 December 2021
The department does not hold figures on the number of pupils who have been informally excluded from school. Informal exclusions are unlawful and therefore there is no mechanism for recording them.
The government is considering the National Autistic Society School Report 2021, which provides helpful insights into this practice. Further information on this report can be found at: https://www.autism.org.uk/what-we-do/news/school-report-2021?dm_i=YA3,7MFOP,63DHOU,V1NPQ,1&mc_cid=cd260af2f9&mc_eid=b460e5a1f.
The department makes clear in the ‘Statutory Suspensions and Permanent Exclusions’ guidance that ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ suspensions, such as sending pupils home ‘to cool off’, are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Any suspension of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be in line with the relevant legislation and be recorded as a suspension.
The department will shortly be consulting on the ‘Behaviour in Schools’ guidance and the ‘Suspensions and Permanent Exclusions’ guidance. These will equip headteachers to create calm, orderly, safe and supportive school environments where exclusions are only ever used lawfully and as a last resort.