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Illegal exclusions taking place

A report from the children's commissioner has found that pupils in schools across England have been informally excluded for months or coerced into changing schools. In one extreme case, children were sent home at Christmas and told not to return until their GCSE exams in the summer.

Students are being illegally excluded

A report from the children's commissioner has found that pupils in schools across England have been informally excluded for months or coerced into changing schools. In one extreme case, children were sent home at Christmas and told not to return until their GCSE exams in the summer.

Headteachers have admitted illegally excluding pupils from school, and the report recommends that the government 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.

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.

Maggie Atkinson, the children's commissioner for England, said: "For the first time schools are on record saying they have 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. Our report recognises that exclusion may in rare cases be a necessary last resort. It should happen only if a child is a danger to his or herself or others, or when learning is so disrupted that only exclusion is possible. But all exclusions must be within the law."

The post of children's commissioner was established as an independent champion for young people in England under the Children's Act 2004, the legislation brought in after the Victoria Climbié inquiry.

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