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ADHD and Exclusion in schools

Exclusion from school is the first event that can label a child ‘a problem’. Guidance makes it clear that the removal of a pupil from the school environment should be used only as a last resort in response to ‘serious breaches’ of a school’s behaviour policy, or to safeguard the welfare and education of other pupils. However, there is a definite case to investigate further whether students who are being excluded for persistent disruptive behaviour (PDB), who are not registered as having any form of special educational needs, may in fact be students who have unrecognised ADHD.1

In the "ADHD: Paying Enough Attention report", 97% of those surveyed stated that children with undiagnosed ADHD are more likely to drop out of school several years earlier than their peers.9

The former Government white paper, ‘Back on Track’, states that 66% of permanently excluded children and 75% of children in PRUs have special educational needs.29

Children with ADHD have more than 100 times greater risk of being permanently excluded from school than other children:1

  • 39% of children with ADHD have had fixed term exclusions from school
  • 11% of excluded children with ADHD have been excluded permanently.

The social impact of exclusion is well established, with evidence showing an increased likelihood of antisocial and criminal behaviour:1

  • 49% of male and 33% of female sentenced prisoners were excluded from school.

Though it would be incorrect to suggest that ADHD is synonymous with antisocial behaviour, the Youth Crime Action Plan identified ADHD as one of the main risk factors of criminal offending during childhood.30