This page explains the different types of school exclusion, and your rights and responsibilities, if your child is excluded from school.
Exclusion is the most serious sanction that a school can use to deal with bad behaviour. The school's behaviour policy, which you can find on every school's website, should state clearly what sorts of behaviour will lead to exclusion. Headteachers can exclude your child if they misbehave in school, and in certain circumstances outside school. It should be a last resort action, taken after a full investigation.
Select the topic you are interested in below, to find out more about how exclusions work, and what you should do if your child is excluded.
A headteacher can only impose an exclusion for disciplinary reasons, and they must follow a formal process. It is unlawful for the school to request an 'informal exclusion', by suggesting that you take your child out of school for a 'cooling off period', but without issuing a formal exclusion.
There are two types of formal exclusion, as follows:
- Most exclusions are for a fixed period, sometimes called a suspension. Your child can only be excluded for a total of 45 school days in one school year, even if they’ve changed school. After a fixed term exclusion, and before your child returns to school, the school will invite you to come to a reintegration meeting.
- If the breach of the school's behaviour policy is very serious, or repeated, the headteacher can decide on a permanent exclusion, also called being expelled. They will only choose this option when allowing your child to stay in school would seriously harm their education or welfare, or that of others in the school.
If the school send your child home to change, because they are breaking the school's uniform policy, this is not an exclusion, it is an 'authorised absence'. In this case, your child should return to school as soon as possible, wearing the correct uniform.
The school's responsibilities
Your child’s school will let you know about an exclusion as soon as possible. Exclusions can start on the same day, but the school shouldn't expect you to come and collect your child immediately. They must give or send you a letter, telling you how long your child is excluded for, and the reason why. They should also tell you in writing about what happens next, including how you can appeal against the decision, if you wish to.
For the first five school days of any exclusion, it is your responsibility to make sure your child isn’t in a public place during normal school hours, unless there is a good reason, such as a doctor's appointment.
During the exclusion, you still have the normal parental responsibility of making sure your child has a suitable education. This means supporting their learning with whatever arrangements are provided. An exclusion is not a 'holiday from schoolwork'.
School governors are responsible for reviewing all pupil exclusions, although they only have the power to overturn a headteacher's decision for permanent exclusions, or fixed term exclusions of more than five days. You have a right to attend and speak at the governors' discussion, if your child has been excluded. The school must tell you when and where you can attend, and how you can take part, if you wish to. The GOV.UK website has advice on what to do if you want to challenge an exclusion
If your child attends an academy
We have no role in exclusions from schools that have converted to academies. These schools must make their own arrangements for any hearing by school governors, and let you know how you can appeal against the decision.
If your child has a fixed period exclusion, or suspension, their school should set and mark work for the first five school days. If the exclusion is longer than this, the school must arrange suitable full-time education from the sixth school day.
If your child is permanently excluded, or expelled, from school, we will arrange full-time education from the sixth school day, via our Children Missing Education team.
Exclusion can have a big effect on children and their families. We aim to work with you at this stressful time, to minimise the impact and get your child's education back on track as soon as possible.
The SEND Partnership Service provides an impartial and confidential support service, if your child is aged up to 19 and has been permanently excluded, or fixed term excluded sufficiently for you to be called to a governors' meeting. You can email the service at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call them on 01225 39 43 82.
National online services
There are lots of resources to help you to understand the process, and point you in the direction of what to do to support your child's learning, both in and outside school.
- The GOV.UK website offers information about the legal regulations around exclusion
- The Ipsea website offers support for parents of children with additional needs (SEND) who have been excluded
- Childline offers advice and support for children who have been excluded