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.
“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.