HUNDREDS of children were booted out of school after they put the lives of other pupils at risk by refusing to follow Covid restrictions.

Children were kicked out for purposefully coughing on their classmates, ignoring social distancing and deliberately breaking health measures at school.

Some 466 exclusions were made after pupils failed to stick to the rules in Sussex.

Two of the exclusions were permanent - the rest were temporary, with pupils later allowed the re-join their school.

The Argus: Two of the exclusions were permanent Two of the exclusions were permanent

Covid rule breaking was the reason behind 12,965 exclusions in England in the 2020 – 2021 academic year, with “public health” the sixth most frequent cause given out of 16 possible options.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said schools worked very hard to keep pupils and staff safe during the pandemic, and it is not unreasonable that young people should be expected to comply with these measures.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Head Teachers said schools were left with no choice but to get rid of pupils who put lives in danger.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the union, said exclusions are always a “last resort”.

"Unfortunately cuts to health and social care services mean that the safety net for excluded young people has too many holes in it,” he said.

"This is something that the government should address urgently.”

But despite Paul’s insistence exclusions are a last resort, Sussex saw 1,553 more last academic year than 2019-2020, with 9,699 cases.

The Argus: Exclusions in Sussex are on the riseExclusions in Sussex are on the rise

And criticisms of the government are piling up, as a member of the Shadow Cabinet slammed the Conservatives for not being clear around Covid guidance.

“The Conservatives have created deep divides in school exclusions, with the lack of clear guidance, especially during the pandemic, threatening children’s futures and failing communities,” said MP Stephen Morgan, Labour’s shadow schools minister.

“The Government’s own independent review highlights the need to tackle exclusions and ensure children are supported in order to improve life chances.

“No parent wants to see their child excluded from school but once again the Conservatives have treated our children and their future opportunities as an afterthought.”