For a long time, illegal exclusions from school have been an elephant in the room for educators, policy makers and others, this report by the Office of the Children's Commissioner for England aims to provide a much clearer and more concrete idea of their scale and nature.

Commissioner Dr Maggie Atkinson said: "These illegal exclusions are affecting a small, but we believe a significant minority of schools.

"We estimate that several hundred schools in England may be excluding children illegally, affecting thousands of children every year. This fact, surely, is a source of shame to the entire education system. We use the term illegal to cover off the record, informal, under the radar exclusions, because that is what they are. Schools are providers of a statutory service, bound by the law. That some of them – however few – seem prepared to break it, is unacceptable."

Click here to read the report in full