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Exclusions from school
The headteacher can exclude your child if they misbehave in or outside school.
What happens when your child is excluded
Your child’s school will let you know about an exclusion as soon as possible. They’ll follow up with a letter telling you how long your child is excluded for and why.
You should also be told how to challenge the exclusion, if you want to.
Exclusions can start on the same day, but the school shouldn’t make you collect your child straight away.
Your child’s school will set them work for the first 5 school days of any exclusion. You must ensure this is completed and returned to the school for marking.
Risk of prosecution if child is found in public place
For the first 5 school days of an exclusion, it’s your responsibility to make sure your child isn’t in a public place during normal school hours unless there is a good reason.
You might be prosecuted if your child is found in a public place when they’re not supposed to be.
Child Law Advice has more information on what happens when a child is excluded.
Types of exclusion
There are 2 kinds of exclusion - fixed period (suspended) and permanent (expelled).
Fixed period exclusion
A fixed period exclusion is where your child is temporarily removed from school. They can only be removed for up to 45 school days in one school year, even if they’ve changed school.
If your child is disruptive during lunchtimes, they may be excluded from the school premises for the length of the lunchtime period. This type of exclusion counts as half a school day, even if they return to lessons in the afternoon.
If a fixed period exclusion for any child aged 5 to 16 will last more than 5 days, the governing body must arrange full-time education (such as home tutoring, pupil referral unit) to begin no later than the 6th day of exclusion.
Permanent exclusion means your child is expelled and can’t return to that school.
An officer from the council’s Access and Attendance Service will contact you within the first 5 days to offer support and information.
For any child aged 5 to 16, the council will arrange alternative full-time education to begin no later than the 6th day of exclusion. This is usually a placement at Mary Astell Academy.
If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), we must consult with you about the education placement.
Making a complaint about the alternative education offer
If alternative education isn’t arranged within 5 days, or you’re not happy with the education, you can complain to:
- the school, for fixed period exclusions
- the council, for permanent exclusions
If you’re not happy with the response, you can complain to the Department for Education (DfE).
You’ll need to show that you followed the school or council’s complaints procedure.
You’ll get a letter from the school telling you what to do if you disagree with the exclusion.
The governing body must consider any views you wish to put about the exclusion.
- For all exclusions, you can put your view in a written statement.
- You can have your say in person for fixed period exclusions that add up to more than 5 days in a term or for permanent exclusions. You can take a friend or legal representative with you, someone whose advice you would find helpful or who can speak on your behalf.
Excluded children under the age of 18 can attend the meeting in their own right.
The role of the school governing body
Every school has a committee made up of school governors whose role it is to consider exclusions made by the head teacher. The head teacher can’t be a member.
You can ask the governing body to overturn the exclusion if either:
- your child has been excluded for more than 5 days
- the exclusion means they’ll miss a public exam or national curriculum test
They will decide “on the balance of probabilities” whether your child has done what has been alleged and whether the head teacher’s decision to exclude was justified based on the evidence.
If the exclusion is for 5 days or fewer, you can still ask the governors to hear your views, but they can’t overturn the headteacher’s decision.
The exclusion committee must send you written confirmation of its decision within one school day of meeting. A note will be placed on your child’s school file.
Challenging permanent exclusion
You’ll be invited to a review meeting with the school’s governors if your child has been permanently excluded. This meeting will take place within 15 school days.
If the governors don’t overturn the exclusion, you can ask for an independent review by your local council (or academy trust if the school’s an academy). The governors must tell you how to do this.
If your child is still excluded you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman (or the Education Funding Agency if the school’s an academy or free school) to look at whether your case was handled properly. They can’t overturn the exclusion.
Discrimination and other complaints
You can make a claim to a court or a tribunal if you think your child’s been discriminated against. You need to do this within 6 months of the exclusion.
Contact the Equality Advisory Support Service for help and advice.
For more general complaints (for example if you don’t want to challenge the exclusion but you’re not happy with the way the school handled it), follow the normal school complaints process.