Deep dive into SENDIASS support for exclusions

Commissioned and funded by the Department for Education and produced by the National Children’s Bureau.

The purpose of this research was to understand the level and range of support for exclusions across IAS services, including how definitions of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities can affect access; gain an understanding of common concerns and changes over time; and inform the approach to future exclusions provision.

Key findings include:

  • The exclusions support provided was varied and often dependent on the capacity of individual teams.
  • The vast majority of respondents (85.8%) provide some form of exclusions support to anyone who calls their service and this may include signposting for those without SEND.
  • Over four-fifths of survey respondents (87.5%) provide support for exclusions at intervention levels 1-4. Frequent types of support include providing telephone and face-to-face advice, online information/factsheets, and training for parents and professionals.
  • There was a range of common challenges faced by families. These included the impact of ‘zero tolerance’ school behaviour policies on rising exclusions, in particular within academy schools; increases in fixed-term and unlawful exclusions; impact of undiagnosed SEND and social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs; and the encouragement of elective home education.
  • IAS staff believe their support for exclusions has had the most significant impact on individual children and families – with over three-quarters (76.6%) indicating the long-term benefits of their support.

Key recommendations are:

  • Increase capacity to offer beyond the mandatory provision for exclusions – test out an enhanced offer of exclusions support with a sample of IAS services in an ‘exclusions pilot’, recognising the increased capacity needed to go beyond the mandatory provision and the increasing numbers of exclusion cases in recent years.
  • Increase awareness of IAS provision for exclusions and develop closer relationships with other partners – any ‘exclusions pilot’ should take a whole systems approach, taking into account the impact on all relevant partners.
  • Develop consistency and guidance around the remit of IAS support for exclusions – provide some universal element for all cases, e.g. level 1 support to anyone with concerns about exclusions, regardless of whether the child has SEND.

Click here to access the full report