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First steps towards a mental health and neurodevelopmental screening of secondary school children following two fixed-term school exclusions in the UK

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Caron Lawson, Kate Prentice, Janine Jennings, Kate Johnston

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

King's Authors

Abstract

Children excluded from school often have a range of unidentified needs that may directly contribute to their behaviour. Research and policy highlight the absence of screening for difficulties in children at risk of exclusion. This study aimed to assess and explore the feasibility and acceptability of neurodevelopmental and mental health screening of secondary school children with two or more fixed-term exclusions, as well as compare differences in rates to matched controls. Mental health and neurodevelopmental measures were collected from 40 children aged 11–16, 13 parents and 9 teachers. The screening process was feasible and acceptable for the children, however there was limited informant response. Case participants showed elevated levels across all screening measures compared to matched control participants. This study highlights the range of difficulties experienced by children at risk of exclusion from school and suggests a screening process may help to identify underlying neurodevelopmental and mental health difficulties.

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