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Illegal exclusions

13 September 2011

A recent Centre for Social Justice report has shown that some schools are acting illegally by excluding pupils by unofficial means. This includes transferring pupils to alternative educational provisions without officially excluding a pupil, encouraging a parent to remove their child from the school, or sending a child home to cool off rather than using fixed term exclusions as required. This practice can lead to schools breaching their legal obligation to provide education.

The report sets out that although the number of exclusions has dropped in recent years, the numbers of pupils in Pupil Referral Units has increased. However, to suggest actual exclusion numbers has dropped can only be done with caution given the unofficial means of avoiding 'formal' exclusions identified in the report.

Excluding a pupil can include a heavy administrative burden and costs - reviewing the exclusion, Governor's meetings and an independent appeals panel - but the failure to take these steps can leave schools open to legal challenge.

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