Call to fine schools that illegally exclude poorly performing pupils

Dec 17, 2017 by

Headteachers who abandon children with special needs must be punished, charity tells ministers

Ministers are being urged to fine schools that are informally excluding poorly performing pupils, amid mounting evidence that some institutions are attempting to game the exam system.

Hundreds of cases of children being removed from schools on tenuous and potentially illegal grounds have been reported to a charity offering legal advice to parents. Experts blame the rise of so-called “off-rolling” on schools that are under pressure to improve performance.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are thought to be the most affected by the informal methods designed to move them out of a school without recording their departure as an official exclusion. With pressure mounting on the Department for Education to act, Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, said some schools were “abandoning their responsibility” to give a decent education to their children. She told the Observer it was “increasingly clear that some schools are gaming the system by taking children they think won’t get good results off their rolls before they sit their exams. Any school that does this is abandoning their responsibility to children, passing the buck to others who are often ill-equipped and don’t have the support they need to provide a good education. As a result, very vulnerable children are falling through the gaps in the education system, increasing the chances they will then go on to lead difficult adult lives.

“I will be calling on the government to set out what measures it will take, including looking at the possibility of financial penalties for schools, to ensure this practice stops now and does not become an acceptable part of the school system.”

Last week Amanda Spielman, the Ofsted chief, described off-rolling as “an invidious example of where schools have lost sight of the purpose of education”.

Source: Call to fine schools that illegally exclude poorly performing pupils | Education | The Guardian

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