School Exclusions

What is Lawful?

There are only two types of exclusion which are lawful:

  • permanent and
  • fixed-period.

    Only the head teacher of a school (or the teacher in charge of alternative provision college) can exclude a pupil. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for a short period of time, must be formally recorded. A pupil must only be excluded on disciplinary grounds. The decision to exclude must be:

  • lawful;
  • rational;
  • reasonable;
  • fair;
  • proportionate

    Both types of exclusions are serious actions for schools to take and neither should be considered before all other options have been exhausted. Exclusion from school, even short term, should be viewed as a last resort.

    What is required of the school when excluding?

    Parents must be notified without delay, in writing, stating:

  • the reason for the exclusion
  • the length of the exclusion
  • arrangements for any alternative provision
  • parents right to respond/appeal

    Types of Exclusion

    Fixed-Period Exclusions

    Fixed-period exclusions are for fixed periods of time, such as a number of days or even for part of the school day (e.g. lunchtimes). When added together, fixed-term exclusions cannot exceed 45 days in one academic year. The pupil remains on the school roll during the exclusion, and returns to school on a stated date.

    Permanent Exclusions

    Permanent exclusions happen when a pupil is removed from school permanently and their name is taken off the school roll.

    Permanent exclusions should only be resorted to in situations where the child has seriously breached the schools behaviour policy and the child remaining in school could seriously harm the education or welfare of other pupils. As a parent you can request a copy of this policy so that you are aware of its contents. You should be able to find this policy on the school’s website. You can also request a copy of your child’s school records to look at any incidents and witness statements that are related to the incident. You will need to give the school up to 10 school days to provide the school record, and they may charge for photocopying. This may help if you want to appeal the decision.

    Pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)

    The Government’s exclusion guidance states that pupils with SEND should only be permanently excluded from school in exceptional circumstances. Schools should take into account children’s special educational needs and how they affect individuals’ behaviour, for example if the child has Autism or ADHD, learning disabilities or social and communication difficulties.

    For a pupil with SEND, schools should take into account the need to identify the child’s needs and provide additional support. This could include an putting in place a Pastoral Support Plan (PSP)

    Entitlement to Alternative Provision

    If excluded the school or the Local Authority must make arrangements for suitable education

    How the West Sussex SENDIAS Service may be able to help:

  • We can advise you further with the exclusions process
  • Inform you of your rights and responsibilities as a parent carer
  • Assist you in preparing your appeal case
  • Accompany you to meetings if necessary
  • Signpost to other organisations that may be able to support and help you

    The role of the West Sussex SENDIAS Service (SENDIAS) is to ensure that all parents have access to impartial information, advice and support so they can make informed decisions about their child’s special educational needs. Any information that is shared with SENDIAS is in confidence unless permission has been obtained to share this with other individuals, services and agencies that may be able to help the family with their circumstances.

    For more detailed information about school exclusions, SENDIAS have a leaflet and webinar that you may wish to look at.

    How to contact us

  • Helpline: 0330 222 8555
  • By e-mail: [email protected]

    Where can I get further Advice?

  • The Children’s Legal Centre 0300 330 5485
  • The School exclusions Hub has a variety of information and resources in regards to exclusions.
  • IPSEA
  • NAS (national Autistic Society)

  • The Access & Exclusion Team in West Sussex can provide detailed advice to parent carers, schools and Governing bodies on exclusions. Email: [email protected]