Headteachers admit illegally excluding pupils
Pupils were informally excluded for months or coerced into changing schools, children's commissioner finds.
Headteachers have admitted illegally excluding pupils from school, including one "extreme" case in which children in their final GCSE year were sent home at Christmas and told not to return until their exams.
The government should conduct research to identify the full extent of unlawful exclusions, and recommend measures to prevent a "small proportion" of schools continuing to act in this way, the report says.
David Wolfe, a barrister specialising in education law, told the inquiry that in some cases, academies were attempting to avoid scrutiny of their exclusions by appeal panels, and refusing to hear appeals from parents.
Wolfe said some academies were refusing to comply with official guidance on exclusions. He also claimed some were refusing to admit children with statements.
The report quotes Wolfe as saying that this is the case with a substantial number of schools and is "symptomatic of a pattern of behaviour, rather than being limited to a few bad apples".
Maggie Atkinson, the children's commissioner for England, said: "For the first time schools are on record saying they had illegally excluded pupils. Due to the informal nature of such exclusions it is difficult to know how widespread this practice is but it is worth further examination.
Read more ... (The Guardian - 19 March)