UKAP Call to Action
There are two clear actions that we are calling for:
Call to Action One: Use second fixed term exclusion as an opportunity to assess children with possible ADHD
Exclusion is the first event that can label a child ‘a problem.’ Many children will be temporarily excluded from school once for poor behaviour and will be suitably chastened by the experience. However, children with untreated developmental problems like ADHD cannot properly moderate their behaviour without the right support, so they are very likely to be excluded more than once. This is an indicator of underlying behavioural problems.
If these behavioural problems can be identified before leading to permanent exclusion from school, it is possible for the child’s behavior to be managed appropriately and the negative impact of permanent exclusion on the child’s education and future avoided.
We recommend that in all children who receive two fixed term exclusions from school, ADHD is considered and, if appropriate, an assessment process for ADHD is initiated.
Call to Action Two: Recognise the importance of tackling ADHD more effectively in future education legislation and guidelines
"ADHD" as a term struggles for recognition within the current education system in the UK. The term is not listed in the SEN and Disability Act, the Disability Discrimination Act, the SENCO Code of Practice or the Disability Discrimination Code of Practice. Furthermore, ADHD is not mentioned in ‘Learning Behaviour: The Report of the Practitioners’ Group on school Behaviour and Discipline’ by Sir Alan Steer in 2005.1 In the recent government guidance on exclusion, ‘Improving Behaviour and Attendance: Guidance on Exclusion from Schools and Pupil Referral Units, 2008’, ADHD is only mentioned in the section ‘Removal of pupils on medical grounds’. In addition, the guidance offers no direction regarding the next steps for school staff to adhere to in order to make a correct, informed decision on exclusion.2
We call on the Government to work with experts in mental health, child psychology and special educational needs to ensure ADHD and the needs of children with ADHD are taken into consideration independently from other special educational needs in future legislation or guidelines for education professionals.