Adopted children are 20 times more likely to face a permanent exclusion from school than their peers, research has revealed.
A survey by the charity Adoption UK also found that adopted children are more likely to be temporarily excluded and many receive no learning during their exclusion period.
Becky White, Adoption UK’s schools development officer and the author of a report into the survey results, said: “The comparatively high number of exclusions of very young adopted children is particularly disturbing. Many of these children will have only recently moved to their new adoptive families and are then experiencing significant disruptions to their education at a vulnerable point in their lives.
“Adoptive parents are the experts on their children. They’re fully aware of the problems their children regularly face in school - but this survey reveals the shocking extent of these problems.”
Adoption UK warns that the self-selecting survey is indicative, rather than scientific, yet raises serious concerns that adopted children are more likely to be excluded than their classmates.
The survey, which received more than 2,000 responses from adoptive parents, revealed that:
- Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of their children had been temporarily excluded during their time at school.
- Children of the adoptive parents are 16 times more likely to be temporarily excluded during the first three years of primary school when compared with other children.
- More than half (55 per cent) of adopted children who have been excluded received no learning support at all during the exclusion period.
During the school year 2015/16, 15 per cent of adopted children represented in the survey had been informally excluded from school on a temporary basis – meaning their ‘exclusion’ is not officially recorded. Of these children, almost a third had been informally excluded five or more times that year.
More than one in 10 of respondents said that their child’s school advised them that the only way to avoid permanent exclusion was for them to voluntarily remove their child – generally referred to as a ‘managed move’.
Becky White added: “The true extent of this problem is being masked because schools are regularly asking adoptive parents to take their children home and keep them out of school, without recording them as exclusions. More children were informally excluded in this way in 2015/16 than were formally excluded. We need to find better ways of improving the situation for children and teachers rather than relying on exclusions.
“The challenge for us now is in convincing education professionals that extra support is needed for adopted children from the start - instead of waiting until they are at crisis-point,” Ms White added.
The exclusions infographic here.