EPI report on ‘suspensions grades gap’ reflects crisis in special educational needs system

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Education Policy Institute report identifying a “suspension grades gap", with young people who experience even a single suspension, or temporary removal from secondary school, less likely to pass crucial GCSEs in English and maths.
“This report shows what will already be clear to school leaders – that pupils who are the subject of suspensions are very often those who go on to record poor educational outcomes. However, this is not a case of cause and effect. Suspensions do not directly cause poor outcomes – both are in fact a reflection of underlying problems such as social, emotional and mental health needs.
“As the report concludes, early intervention and sufficient resources and training are key to improving the outcomes of these young people, as well as reducing the rate of suspensions. However, the special educational needs system is in a state of crisis, with delays in assessments, lack of resources, disputes between parents and local authorities, and massive deficits in local authority high-needs budgets.
“The government’s plans to improve the system are years away from being delivered and lack the essential component of sufficient funding. It is a lamentable situation – children and young people need this support right now.”