Pupils should no longer be expelled or suspended for “minor infringements” because it can damage their education and push them into a life of crime, said Maggie Atkinson. In a major report, she said children should only be sent home for safety reasons or to prevent disruption to other pupils. She also called for a “very strong presumption against” permanently barring primary school pupils and demanded an all-out ban on expulsions for those aged seven or under – even for serious offences. In further comments, Dr Atkinson criticised schools that “illegally” exclude pupils by ordering them home – often for months at a time – without making an official record of the move. She said exclusion should only be used in “rare cases” amid fears it could breach children’s rights.