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Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Monday, 19 March 2012

Report details 'illegal' school exclusions


The Children's Commissioner for England has said that some schools in England are excluding pupils illegally without going through the formal process.

Dr Maggie Atkinson was speaking to the Today programme's Sarah Montague about an official report in which 12 head teachers were interviewed, with some admitting that they removed children from the classroom without recording it.

The report found that Black Caribbean boys, traveller children and pupils with special needs are far more likely to be excluded than those from other groups.

Dr Atkinson gave one example of difficult GCSE students who were told to stay at home from Christmas time and asked not to come until it is time to sit exams in May and June while still remaining on the register.

"Some of those youngsters might have been given a second chance", she said

She acknowledged that "there is a great deal of fantastic practise" and it is a minority of head teachers who ask children to stay away from school without recording anything or going through proper procedures.

"It is not legal" Dr Atkinson said, adding that "in most cases we have heard of, it is not about league tables" but rather about teachers not having enough training to deal with groups of students with specific needs.

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