Dr Maggie Atkinson, the Children’s Commissioner for England, is urging the government to investigate further after head teachers confessed to researchers that they had excluded pupils illegally. Pupils were sent home for a period of time to “cool off” or coerced into moving to another school or college.
“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,” said Dr Atkinson. “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.”
In one school, Dr Atkinson found that pupils had been sent home for the Christmas break and were told not to return to school until they needed to sit their GCSE examinations in the summer term.
Being excluded isn’t the ideal situation for most students, but this should not deprive them from achieving GCSE and A-Level qualifications. Oxford Open Learning has been delivering distance learning courses to students for 22 years, helping them to achieve the qualifications that they deserve.