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Is the removal from sixth form an unlawful exclusion?

31 August 2017

Legal challenge of a Kent grammar school is underway, following a withdrawal of year 13 places for students based on a lack of academic progression. The families affected are arguing that this amounts to an unlawful exclusion and are challenging the decision via a judicial review claim.

Although it is relatively common practice for schools to prevent pupils progressing to year 13 on academic grounds, this is the first time the practice has been formally challenged. If the court agrees with the families, it will not only widen the scope of ‘an unlawful exclusion’, but could also imply that once a pupil is admitted into year 12 that they are entitled to stay at the school until the end of year 13, regardless of academic performance.

Although designated grammar schools are permitted to select their intake on the basis of academic ability, the case could result in all schools having to reconsider their admissions criteria for sixth form selection.

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