Placing too much emphasis on exam results is having a negative impact on excluded pupils, it has been claimed.
John Coe, secretary of the National Association of Primary Education, noted that secondaries often "have to justify their continued existence as a school by the number of children reaching certain levels at GCSE".
"That means that when the emphasis is on examination results - as it is at the moment - then obviously concern for the children's all-round development beyond their performance in a test has a tendency to be neglected," he explained.
Mr Coe claimed there needs to be more official provision for excluded children through special units and schools.
A report published earlier this week by the Centre for Policy Studies noted that excluded pupils currently endure "very poor outcomes" in examinations at Pupil Referral Units (PRUs).
The organisation noted that reform of PRUs is essential if the social costs of dealing with excluded students is to be reduced.