Exclusions

Information for England

Schools can discipline pupils if they break the rules. The school behaviour policy should set out how they will do this. For ongoing challenging behaviour, or more serious ‘one-off’ offences, pupils may get a fixed period (temporary) exclusion, or a permanent exclusion.

For an exclusion longer than five and a half days the governors have the power to allow your child back into school. If the governors do not reverse a permanent exclusion, you can ask for an Independent Review Panel (IRP) to look at the decision. The Independent Review Panel can ask the governors to reconsider the exclusion. If your child is disabled, you can also make a disability discrimination claim to the First Tier Tribunal for Special Educational Needs and Disability.

Only the head teacher, or acting head, can exclude a pupil.

The school will usually ring to tell you your child is being excluded and ask you to take them home. The head must also write to you straight away (law says ‘without delay’). The letter or email must say:

  • why your child is excluded
  • how long the exclusion is for, or that it is permanent
  • when they will be allowed back in school (for a fixed period exclusion)
  • how their education will continue while they are not in school
  • how you can challenge the exclusion.

You can write to the school governing body to give your views. You can also ask to meet with them. For longer fixed term exclusions, the governors will automatically meet. Their role is to check that the head followed the exclusion procedures properly and made the right decision.u

For an exclusion longer than five and a half days the governors have the power to allow your child back into school. If the governors do not reverse a permanent exclusion, you can ask for an Independent Review Panel (IRP) to look at the decision. The Independent Review Panel can ask the governors to reconsider the exclusion. If your child is disabled, you can also make a disability discrimination claim to the First Tier Tribunal for Special Educational Needs and Disability.

The head can exclude your son/daughter if the offence is considered too serious for lesser punishments such as detention. However if your child’s behaviour is related to SEN or disability, the school should first consider whether there are better ways of managing behaviour or giving extra help. If your child needs more help than the school can give, they may need an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Yes, if the head decides your child has seriously broken the rules and that they would be a danger to others if they stayed in school.  However, exclusion should always be a last resort and the school should take into account a pupil’s SEN or disability if this was a factor in the exclusion. If there are concerns about your child’s behaviour, an early review of their EHC plan should be arranged.

The rules governing exclusions from schools, academies and pupil referral units in England are contained in the s52 Education Act 2002.

If your child has been excluded, the applicable Statutory Guidance is “Exclusions from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units – A guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion” (September 2012).

Note: A 2014 version of the Exclusions Guidance was issued by the Department for Education earlier this year before being withdrawn to address issues with process. The current guidance to be followed is the above Guidance, which was last updated in September 2017.

  • Please note that this page is only applicable to those pupils who are attending school in England; it applies to all children attending a school including those below or above compulsory school age, such as those attending nursery classes or 6th forms.
  • Section 52(1) Education Act 2002states that the head teacher of a Local Authority maintained school may exclude a pupil from the school for a fixed period or permanently.

What are the different types of exclusion?

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