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Report claims 'unlawful' exclusions are taking place in Hackney schools

PUBLISHED: 08:37 20 September 2016 | UPDATED: 08:37 20 September 2016

Hackney Town Hall, in Mare Street.

Hackney Town Hall, in Mare Street.

Archant

Hackney schools are booting youngsters out illegally, the town hall will be told on Thursday night.

The “worrying” claims are made in a report by the children’s scrutiny commission, a group of councillors who act as an internal watchdog for Hackney’s education services.

Last year nine primary school kids and 22 secondary school students were permanently excluded in Hackney.

Reasons for exclusion in the last decade have included persistent disruptive behaviour, physical and verbal attacks, “weapon-related” incidents, drugs and alcohol, racist abuse and bullying. A primary pupil was barred for sexual misconduct.

But the report also claims children are being kicked out of school for the wrong reasons. One child, represented by solicitors from Just For Kids Law, was reportedly diagnosed with ADHD and autism after being excluded from primary school, where there had been “no exploration of possible reasons for their apparent misbehaviour”.

And a parent from the Gypsy and Traveller community suggested her son may have dyslexia when he found it difficult to keep up at secondary school. Again this was not explored, the report claims, and his frustration at not keeping up led to disruptive behaviour that ultimately saw him excluded.

Cllr Chris Kennedy writes: “In these cases schools have not acted in accordance with Department for Education guidance on approaches to exclusions and their actions could be deemed to be unlawful.

“We cannot see how a permanent exclusion can be justified where a full exploration of any support which might allow for successful reintegration has not been carried out.

“While illegal, we have heard accounts of pupils being informally excluded, in which they have been sent home during a school day and been instructed not to return until the following day.”

Exclusions are linked with poorer outcomes in both education and later life and are also associated with limited ambition, homelessness and mental health issues.

The report also found black boys were “over-represented” in exclusions.

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