The DfE has denied reports that it is drawing up legislation to curtail the powers of schools to exclude pupils.
It was reported last night that the changes would be introduced because of warnings of a link between pupils being excluded, and rising levels of knife crime.
The report said headteachers would lose their rights to expel pupils.
Quick read: DfE exclusions review to examine off-rolling
However, the DfE last night swiftly issued a rare denial.
In a statement on its media blog, it said: “This is untrue and there are no plans to change these powers.”
A source close to education secretary Damian Hinds also confirmed to Tes that the report was incorrect.
The government is currently awaiting for the final outcome of an official review of school exclusions, being carried out by former education minister Edward Timpson.
The review’s terms of reference say “it will not seek to curb the powers head teachers have to exclude but will examine the ways in which such powers are exercised”.
A government spokesperson said: “We support headteachers in using exclusion as a sanction where it is warranted, but permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort. No headteacher ever takes the decision to exclude a pupil lightly, and we have no plans to change these powers.
“The issues surrounding knife crime and bad behaviour at school are complicated. We should not draw a simple causal link from exclusions to crime.
“The Timpson review is looking at how the use and levels of exclusions vary from school to school focusing on those children who are more likely to be excluded.
"It will report shortly and the education secretary has been clear that he has not ruled out holding schools to account for the pupils they place in alternative provision or permanently exclude.”
Tes has previously reported that the Timpson Review will examine off-rolling, despite this not being in its original remit.