I read the DfE’s latest report on school exclusions in England (2013-14) in the knowledge that summer born children are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with SEN than any other group.
Interestingly, the report, published yesterday, links to another, 2012 Research Report (A profile of pupil exclusions in England), which tells us:
“When controlling for other characteristics, being a pupil with any level of Special Educational Needs provision has a stronger effect on the odds of being excluded than gender, Free School Meals eligibility or ethnicity.“
“…Pupils with a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) were almost seven times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion than pupils with no SEN, and were nine times more likely to receive a fixed period exclusion.
…Boys are more likely to be excluded (both permanently and for a fixed period) at all ages than girls, with very few girls being excluded during the primary years.”
Time restraints prevent me from contacting the statistician responsible for the report to find out whether there is any data on the ‘month of birth‘ of these excluded children, but it would be very interesting to find out.
And even if there proves to be no connection between summer born children and the increased likelihood of exclusion from school, this Nursery World article (Hundreds of under-fives excluded for disruptive behaviour by Katy Morton) still reports a very shocking and sad reality for many school-age children.
Morton writes, “…40 children in nursery and 930 in reception received one or more fixed period exclusion during the 2013 to 2014 school year.
“During the same period, a total of 70 fixed period exclusions were issued for nursery children and 1,970 for those in reception.
“A total of 30 children aged four and under were permanently excluded from school in 2013/14.”
I’d call it ironic if it wasn’t so tragic – the compulsory school age in England is the term following a child’s 5th birthday, and yet 30 children were expelled from an education system they legally didn’t even have to be in yet.
Perhaps, just perhaps, some of these children may have faired better had they been enrolled in school AT compulsory school age, instead of one whole developmental year earlier.
And whatever the answer, surely it’s a question worth asking?
- Written by Pauline Hull
Author and Journalist
With thanks to Rosie Dutton for highlighting the NW article in our campaign FB group.
Such a sad reflection on society! These children have been failed by someone, somewhere along the line! And they’re not yet 5.
I’m not surprised at this, but I am saddened. Allowing summerborns their right to start school at compulsory school age (in reception) could lessen the number of children misdiagnosed with SEN and perhaps the number of exclusions long-term. Summerborns would have more confidence and happiness at school if they started in YR at CSA and this would then set them up for a happier and more settled school life.
Oh no, how sad. Preparing them to fail form the start. Some would have been so much better staying off formal schooling for an extra year. Research shows that during early years executive functioning develops at the increased rate – that is ability to regulate ones emotions, focus, goal setting, etc… those skills schools are unable to facilitate, most of these skill develop during free unsupervised play. These kids would really benefit from a less formal setting. Yet, the local authorities still fight the parents who want their summer borns to start school at compulsory school age. Who does it benefit but the system seeking bureaucratic neatness??
The answer is glaringly obvious, let parents decide, let’s not set our children up to fail from the outset. It is so simple, why can’t the government, schools and local councils see this?