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Contact comments on latest report into illegal exclusions

Friday 10th May 2019

One in four teachers in England say they have witnessed pupils being illegitimately removed from schools, often to artificially boost a school's exam performance or league table position. This is according to a new report published today by education watchdog Ofsted.

Ofsted say that the figures suggest the practice, known as "off-rolling" - where pupils are removed from a school's roll in order to manipulate its exam results or league table ranking - is widespread.

Jill Hardman, one of Contact's education specialists, says: "I took a call on our helpline only today from a parent whose child has special educational needs and had been told by the school to stay away while the GSCEs exams were taking place - a clear example of off-rolling.

"Contact's own research shows that children with special educational needs are regularly illegally excluded from school with a devastating impact on their education and mental health. This can include parents being asked to collect their child during the school day because there are not enough staff available, for example.

"Often schools present illegal exclusions as something that is in the best interests of the child. Parents we speak to often tell us about the pressure their child's school can put them under in order to agree to removing their child from school.

"Unfortunately parents with children with additional needs often don't know this type of exclusion is unlawful - even if they agree to it - or the rights of their child to get an education. That's why we'd encourage any parent worried about their child's education to seek advice."