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Charity condemns exclusion practices in academies

Academies have been challenged for their “alarmingly higher” rate of pupil exclusions compared to state schools and for failing to reinstate pupils on appeal.

Nearly 2,000 pupils were excluded from academy schools in 2012/13.

A report by the charity Communities Empowerment Network found that in 2012/13, 2,700 pupils were excluded from 18,763 state schools whilst over 1,930 pupils were excluded from 2,390 academies during the same period.

Furthermore, independent review panels (IRPs) recommended that school governors reconsider the fact that “virtually no academies or free schools have, so far, reinstated a pupil”.

The report, Mapping the Exclusion Process: Inequality, Justice and the Business of Education, found that the IRP process was failing parents looking to challenge decisions around exclusion and should be scrapped. The report was particularly concerned that the IRP had no power to force a school to reinstate a pupil.

It also found that an excess of schools, including those in the maintained sector, were illegally excluding pupils, since governors were failing to scrutinise decisions and challenge head teachers.

Education quality amongst excluded pupils was also investigated. The report notes that this is too often typified by reduced teaching hours and limited timetables.

What is more, the small number of excluded pupils who are reinstated receive no compensation for missed learning.