Sky News is reporting concerns about the way academies are excluding pupils, as campaigners accuse schools of disproportionately targeting those with special needs.
Department for Education figures suggest that exclusions by academies are more likely to be overturned by an independent review panel.
Two-thirds of exclusions by academies were not upheld – 6% higher than at government-maintained schools.
The Government’s figures also show that children with special needs accounted for 70% of all exclusions.
Although there is no evidence that the overall number of pupils being excluded is higher among academies, campaigners believe academies are more likely to use illegal exclusions…
The Communities Empowerment Network has claimed many academies are not following due process – and alleged several practise illegal exclusions.
Its director, Deuan German, said: “Academies definitely have got to perform. They’ve got to be shown to be performing, and that’s how they maintain their academy status and get to open other branches in their chain.
“Unfortunately, in order to do that, they are choosing to exclude some of the more vulnerable pupils – pupils with special education needs or behavioural problems…”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We have given head teachers more powers to tackle poor behaviour and have ensured they have the confidence to exclude pupils when it is necessary.
“Schools have a clear legal duty not to discriminate against pupils and are held to account by Ofsted for their use of exclusion powers – they and the Department take any misuse of these powers seriously and have shown we will not hesitate to take action…”
The campaigners are targeting academies but the figures quoted only suggest academies are more likely to have appeals against their exclusions upheld by a relatively small amount so if this is an issue, it seems like it could be as issue across all schools.
What do you think? Are academies (or perhaps all kinds of schools) too quick to exclude pupils with special needs? And are too many failing to adhere to the correct legal process?
Please tell us what you think in the comments or via Twitter…
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