Can a Child With Special Needs be Excluded From School?

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As the parent of a child with special needs, it can often be difficult to find a school which has the facilities to give your child the best education possible.

Legally, special needs students can be excluded from any school in the country, no matter what the severity of their condition is. However, ethically, it is much more difficult to decide whether a pupil should be kicked out of the school if they have special needs.

In this article, you will read about the most disruptive special needs conditions, common reasons children are excluded from schools and how you can prevent this situation from arising. 

Can Special Needs Children be Excluded From School?

Legally speaking, yes, special needs children can technically be kicked out of school. However, it is frowned upon in the teaching community to send a child away from the school just because they are unable to behave and learn in the same way as other pupils. 

That said, there are a handful of schools who are perfectly happy to send special needs children away if they break the rules of the school or disrupt the learning of other pupils during the day. So, whether a special needs child is excluded or not depends on both the severity of their adversity to following rules and the attitudes of the institution itself. 

What are the Most Common Reasons a Special Needs Child is Excluded? 

The most common reason a child is kicked out of any school is due to behavioural issues, which can include unnecessary anger towards teachers and students, disorderly anti-social conduct, or disruptive behaviour in class. You will often find that the chance of a child being forced out of the school is decreased if their condition is more severe or if the symptoms of the special need give reasons for their actions. 

For example, a child with muscular dystrophy would have no good reason to become suddenly aggressive towards another pupil, meaning they may be expelled from the school, but not because of their condition. However, severe autism would be an example where the child’s actions wouldn’t be deliberately malicious, so the school may be more lenient. 

How Can You Prevent Your Child From Being Excluded?

It’s understandable that, as the parent of a special needs child, you’re worried about the possibility of expulsion. However, there are a couple of different things you can do to try and decrease the risk of this happening at all. 

Talk to the School

Your first option is talking to the school itself. In any case, you should do your research before choosing a school, but particularly if you have a child with special needs. It is important to ask them about their behaviour policies, the facilities available to help your child’s learning development and how far they will stretch the rules to suit your situation.  

Finding a school that facilitates both special needs children and teaches them the rights and wrongs of behaviour will make life easier for you, your child, and their teachers as they grow older. 

Find a Special Needs Orientated School

Another one of your choices is finding a school designed for children with special needs or for the particular condition your child suffers with. This will mean they have all the facilities possibly needed to take care of your child and employ teachers who are specially trained and experienced with the behaviour of special needs children. 

Not only this, but also the school will be willing to extend boundaries for children with certain conditions, meaning the only reason they would be excluded is due to actions which aren’t the direct result of their disorder. 

Consider Home Schooling

If none of these solutions sound preferable to you, there is always the possibility to home-school. Currently, the number of home-schooled children in the UK is steadily increasing, and depending on the specific condition your child has, it could be beneficial to reduce the anxiety and stress surrounding the possibility of exclusion. 

Opting to home-school is a big step, so you need to carefully weigh up all the pros and cons before making a final decision. Click here to find out whether home-schooling would be the right choice for you and the personality of your child. If you believe that home schooling is the right path for you, there are several websites which supply the syllabi for different school years. Click here to find all kinds of tips and tricks, as well as curriculum lists and training resources to get you started with at-home special needs teaching. 

Which Special Needs Conditions Cause Children to Become the Most Disruptive? 

When people talk about special needs children, most minds immediately wonder to disruptive, boisterous kids who make learning more difficult for other pupils. However, with most conditions, this isn’t the case at all. With such a wide range of disorders, it is important to be aware of which one’s cause children to become most disruptive, so that you can assess the likelihood of your child being excluded. 

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) 

As the name suggests, ODD is a condition which causes children to disobey the orders of their parents, teachers, and other authority figures. Whilst these are qualities which all children show from time to time, the disorder causes them to act with strong anger and disagreement for several months or years on end.  

If your child has ODD, chances are they will be highly disruptive to the learning of other children without meaning to, so as a parent, it is vital that you find the best way to deal with the obstacles that come with the disorder, to help keep your youngster out of trouble. 

Conduct Disorder (CD)

CD is very similar to ODD in that children with the disorder disobey rules more often than other children regularly would. The only difference between the two is that Conduct Disorder compels the child to disregard etiquette rules and causes them to be anti-social towards others lots of the time, whereas ODD children only break the standards set by their parents.  

Parents again need to be careful with where they choose to send their children to school and how they deal with the disorder at home to make sure disruption stays to a minimum at school. 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is one of the most common disorders in school-age children. Most children who suffer from ADHD will cause some disruption in classes and may find it difficult to concentrate, but there are some severe forms of the condition which mean children become extremely disruptive and incredibly difficult to keep under control (the hyperactivity part of the disorder).  

The good news is that because the special need is so widely known throughout the world, teachers and other students will often have more patience with children if they know about their situation, and there are plenty of treatments which can be used to lower the severity of the condition, particularly at an early age. 


Autism is a difficult condition to cope with, and another one which affects the behaviour of children in school, causing them to possibly be expelled. The severity of the disorder can again be very varied, so some people go through their entire lives without even knowing it’s there. However, for those with severe autism, it can cause them to panic in social situations and become confused or angry about the behaviour of those around them. 

Parents often find it difficult to cope with autistic children at first, but as they grow up this becomes easier, as children start to understand what the disorder is. However, due to the nature of conditions, a sizeable percentage of school expulsions involve autistic children. 

Remember that, although children with the conditions listed above are most likely to cause issues, schools fully understand the difficulty of growing up with any special need, so will always cut a little bit of slack, no matter what your child’s condition is. 

You can click here to visit a website about all the different learning difficulties a child could get and see the symptoms of the most and least disruptive disorders.

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