Threat hangs over appeals panels for excluded children

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Warwick Mansell, for guardian.co.uk on Monday 28th June 2010 15.46 UTC

He is one of the most successful sports people in Britain, a multi-millionaire and a role model to millions.

But a less well-known fact about the racing driver Lewis Hamilton is that as a 16-year-old in 2001 he was mistakenly expelled from school, and only cleared after his father, Anthony, vigorously fought the headteacher’s decision at an independent appeals panel.

The panel concluded it was a case of mistaken identity, with Hamilton wrongly excluded alongside five other teenage boys after a fellow pupil was attacked.

“I knew I was innocent but [the head] did not appear to be interested,” Hamilton wrote in his autobiography. He added, of the situation before the panel heard the case: “No one appeared to listen – no one either wanted to or had the time. We were on our own and I was out of school.” Continue reading