New government guidance will aim to reduce the high proportion of children with special educational needs (SEN) who are excluded from school.
The children, schools and families secretary Ed Balls said the statutory guidance would make “tackling exclusions of SEN pupils a priority”.
The guidance for Behaviour and Attendance Partnerships – formed when secondary schools pool resources to challenge poor behaviour and attendance – will be part of the government’s forthcoming behaviour strategy.
Balls said partnerships with high levels of exclusions of children with SEN would be expected to “tackle behaviour issues early, before they become serious problems”.
He also announced further trials – to build on eight existing pilots – to find easier ways to carry out assessments of children with SEN, in a bid to make the process “clearer and more transparent”, less stressful for parents and possibly more independent of local authorities.
There will also be a review of the supply of teachers who are trained to teach pupils with “severe learning difficulties”.
Balls said education for disabled children and children with SEN had “greatly improved” over the last 10 years and the “vast majority” of parents were pleased with the school their child attends.
But he said it was “still the case that children with SEN are more than eight times as likely to be excluded, that some parents can find it hard to access the right support for their child, and that pupils with severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties need even more teachers with the right level of expertise”.
The measures are the latest in a series of SEN proposals announced by Balls in response to an ongoing inquiry headed by Brian Lamb, set up by the government to improve confidence in England’s SEN system.
Lamb, who welcomed the latest announcements, is set to publish his final report in October.
28 September 2009