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Children's commissioner calls for schools 'off-rolling' children to face financial penalties

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Schools should be fined for “off-rolling” children, says Children’s Commission Anne Longfield.

There has been growing concern about schools removing students from their roll – sometimes in ways which would not show up in official exclusion statistics.

The number of exclusions has risen dramatically in some areas and the proportion of children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) who are being excluded is higher than for non-SEND children.

There have also been questions raised about schools which seek to withdraw sixth-form places for A level pupils if students don’t get the grades expected half-way through the course. 

In an interview with The Observer today, Ms Longfield says that schools which are “gaming the system” are “abandoning their responsibility to children”.

“Very vulnerable children are falling through the gaps in the 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,” she said.

The Department for Education said that an independent review of exclusions was underway.

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