If a child or young person is excluded, it means they are not allowed to attend school for a fixed amount of time.
The decision to exclude is made by the head teacher. They must carefully consider the law when deciding to exclude a child or young person. The decision is recorded and the appropriate processes are completed involving the parents and governors. The school MUST issue a letter to the parents notifying them of the exclusion.
Informal exclusions are illegal, for example sending a child home to ‘cool off’ or only allowing a child or young person in for a reduced amount of time (See guidance on reduced timetables).
There are two different types of exclusion:
- Fixed Period Exclusions
A pupil is excluded for a stated period of time. After five days the school must arrange alternative educational provision for the child or young person. However, if this is not possible, the school has responsibility to provide and mark work for the pupil for the first five days of the exclusion regardless of the 6th day provision duties being put in place. Once a child returns to education, measures should be taken by the school to make sure the absence didn’t affect the child's progress. Once a child returns to education, measures should be taken by the school to make sure the absence didn’t affect the child's progress.
- Permanent Exclusions
Permanent exclusions are made when a head teacher feels the school’s behaviour policy has been breached in a way that it is no longer appropriate for the child to remain in the school.
(It is possible for a Fixed Period exclusion to be changed to a permanent exclusion if the reasoning is justified, and parents would be notified of this with a letter detailing the reason for the change, your rights and next steps)
What happens when my child is permanently excluded?
When a permanent exclusion occurs, the Council must arrange suitable full-time education, for example a Pupil Referral Unit, by at least the sixth day of exclusion.
If the excluded pupil has a statement of SEN (special educational needs) or an EHCP (Education Health Care Plan) then the local authority must arrange an appropriate full-time placement that the parents are happy with. Parents of an excluded child with SEN have a right to state a preference for a certain school that they wish their child to attend.
Can I appeal the exclusion?
Once the decision to exclude has been made, it will be reviewed by the school’s board of governors. At the meeting, you and your child have a right to present your case to the governors. You can represent yourself or be accompanied by someone to speak on your behalf at your expense.
If the governing board agree with the head teacher and the exclusion is enforced, then you have the option of asking for the decision to be reviewed by an independent review panel.
The Equality Act 2010 states that schools must not discriminate against pupils on the basis of their sex, race, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. For pupils with SEN, this includes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to policies and practices in accord with their needs. If you feel the decision to exclude your child is discriminatory, you can make a claim to the First-Tier tribunal for disability discrimination or a County Court for other types of discrimination.