Open Letter Regarding Exclusions

The issue of exclusions in schools is important and rightly up for discussion, but some recent coverage has been misinformed, misguided and unhelpful to the causes of safety and standards in schools.

It is essential that we do not conflate fixed-term exclusions with permanent ones, or legal (formal) exclusions with illegal practices like off-rolling or pressuring children into home education. Doing this gives a false picture, and makes it harder to understand what is actually going on in schools.

The law and guidance on exclusions is clear, robust, and ensures a fair process for all concerned. Excluding a child from school is a last resort, and done with the interests of the pupil concerned, and others, at heart. To ignore poor behaviour in order to artificially reduce the number of exclusions would be illogical and unfair, and ultimately teachers and vulnerable pupils would suffer the most.

We support in the strongest possible terms the right of Heads to exclude pupils within the law when they deem it is necessary, and call on the government and others to reiterate their backing for this too.

Where there is clear evidence of illegality we wholeheartedly condemn it, and support work to better understand the scale of any such practices. However, we call on everyone involved to approach investigation with care, clarity, and accuracy.

Our children and teachers deserve to be in safe, inclusive schools. Sensationalism over the sensitive issue of exclusions does nothing to assist with this; if anything it makes it harder to achieve.


Mark Lehain, Director, Parents and Teachers for Excellence

Dame Rachel de Souza, CEO, Inspiration Trust

Sir Nick Weller, CEO, Dixons Academy Trust

Tom Bennett, Behaviour Adviser

Munira Mirza, Former Deputy Mayor of London for Education and Culture

Sir Roger Scruton

Leora Cruddas, CEO, FASNA

Ian Bauckham CBE

Julia Kedwards OBE, CEO, Northampton Primary Academy Trust

Michaela Khatib, Head, Cobham Free School

Claire Ward

Mark Enser, Teacher

Barnaby Lenon

Robert Peal, Assistant Headteacher, West London Free School

Claire Heald, Director of School Improvement, Inspiration Trust

Tony Sewell CBE

Janet Lehain, Teacher, Bedford Free School

Ben Newmark

Emily Reynard, Head of School, MEA Central

Matt Hood, Chief Education Officer, Institute for Teaching and Ambition School Leadership

Jonathan Simons

Jane Herron, Head of School, Bedford Free School

Lee Donaghy

Helena Brothwell, Principal, Queen Elizabeth’s Academy

Ed Vainker

Cassandra Young, Head of School, Brenzett CE Primary School

Luke Sparkes, Executive Principal, Dixons Academies

Michael Merrick

Samantha Baxter, Principal, Elstow School

Clare Sealy

Hywel Jones

Tom Rees, Education Director, Northampton Primary Academy Trust

Alex Wade, Chairman of Governors, Fulham Boys School

Mark Rose, PTE Advisory Council Member

Oli Knight

Natasha Porter

Andrew Old, Teacher and Blogger

John Blake, PTE Advisory Council Member

Adam Boxer, Teacher

Ros McMullen

Martin Robinson

Stuart Lock, Executive Principal, Advantage Schools

Mark Adams, Senior Vice Principal, Magna Academy, Poole

Jon Hutchinson, Teacher

James Theobald, Teacher

Martyn Oliver, CEO, Outwood Grange Academies Trust