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'Statement all excluded pupils'

All excluded children should be issued with a statement of special educational needs to ensure they get the help they require, according to a recent report.

Special Needs - but no special treatment? from the charity Rathbone CI, highlights the fact that disproportionate numbers of statemented pupils have been excluded. It suggests that other pupils - excluded for disciplinary reasons - may have special needs which have not been identified.

Excluded pupils with statements at least have some guarantee of appropriate help, it adds.

The report, sponsored by Kellogg's and based on survey responses by 23 per cent of English and Welsh education authorities and case studies in five areas, was prepared by Manchester University's education department.

It found that a fifth of education authorities had no written policy on assessing pupils with SEN. It also found that the proportion of pupils with statements varied hugely, ranging from 1.7 to 4.5 per cent of the school population.

A third of education authorities had no formal partnership projects for helping parents during the statementing process. The Government wants all authorities to establish a parent-partnership scheme in 1999 - and has pledged pound;6 million a year for the next three years to support them.

The report looks at the treatment meted out to SEN pupils who are excluded via the "discipline route". The local authority special needs team was often not aware of these pupils, it says, and was not approached for assessment and advice.

"A holistic approach may assist in reducing the number of exclusions," it says.

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