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St. Olave’s Grammar School and exclusions

St. Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington has been subject to media scrutiny after it was found to be holding students back from Year 13 due to poor academic attainment. Last week, parents confirmed they were taking legal action against the school’s policy.

On Friday 1 September, the Headteacher and Chair of Governors decided to retract the decision and to reinstate all pupils who wish to come back to the school next week for year 13 to continue with their A level courses.

Schools are not allowed to remove pupils from a sixth form because of academic ability once they are enrolled.

The law is clear that exclusions can only be issued for disciplinary reasons and that permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort, in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school’s behaviour policy, and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school. Parents confirmed they were taking legal action against the school’s policy.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

All schools have a responsibility to provide a high quality education to every pupil and ensure there is no limit to their potential. Students enrolled in a sixth form cannot be removed because of academic ability.

The law is clear on this and we expect all schools to follow it. We will be taking action to remind headteachers of their responsibility on this point.

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