Ofsted's exclusion warning

Ofsted has issued a general policy document about the use of exclusions.

Why is this relevant?

Ofsted is making it very clear that peaks in exclusions, continually high levels of exclusions, or higher levels of exclusions for children with special educational needs (SEN) will be a trigger for an early inspection. It also seems clear that Ofsted will be focussing on the question of why those exclusions are taking place.

Impact for SEN

It is often considered that children with SEN, particularly those with challenging behaviour, are likely to face exclusions more often than children without SEN. This publication makes it very clear that Ofsted will not accept such a stance, advising that it is potentially unlawful. The publication specifically sets out;

“Schools have a responsibility under the Equality Act to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for pupils who are disabled. This includes those whose disability leads to a behavioural difficulty. Where pupils with special educational needs are being excluded more than their peers, inspectors will ask questions about the provision being made for them in school, both for their learning and to support their behaviour.”

For parents of children with SEN, therefore, this is another agency reinforcing the fact that exclusion is an absolute last resort. Particularly for children with SEN, schools must be making adjustments and considering almost anything feasible to avoid exclusion but to achieve the outcome of improving behaviour within the school.


This publication is in-keeping with the general approach of inclusion and holistic support. It is positive to see that Ofsted will, in principle, look more carefully at schools with high levels of exclusions, particularly when they concern children with SEN.

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