School suspensions for SEND pupils disproportionately high in Islington, figures show

Islington Town Hall. Photograph: Islington Citizen

Suspensions among school pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) are disproportionately high in Islington.

More than 10 per cent of SEND students in secondary schools were suspended during the 2022/23 Spring term.

The target is above the average rate for inner London rate, which was 7.72 per cent. However, it is better than the national rate of 15.88 per cent.

The suspension rate primary schools was significantly lower at 1.73 per cent, but was still higher than the 1.18 per cent average for inner London.

Overall, suspensions in Islington’s secondary schools have almost halved with 456 secondary school pupils ordered to stay away temporarily during the 2022/23 Spring term, compared to 743 over the same period the year before.

This gives Islington a secondary school suspension rate of 4.89 per cent – higher than the inner London rate of 3.55 per cent.

Islington Council’s target was to reduce suspensions to below the inner London average.

Sarah Callaghan, director of learning and culture for Islington Council, said that while it was regrettable that the targets wasn’t met, there were “contextual reasons” for it.

“It is worth noting that most of these suspensions are occurring in four schools, so there is a slight skew in the data,” she said.

Callaghan also said that these schools have a high proportion of SEND children, and children on free school meals, who are more likely to be excluded from mainstream education.