What does exclusion mean?
Exclusion is the word used when a pupil has breached the school’s behaviour policy and is not allowed to attend school for a period of time.
Types of exclusion
There are 2 types of exclusion – fixed term and permanent.
A fixed term exclusion means that a pupil is not allowed to attend school for a specified number of days or for part of the school day, such as lunch times. A pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods of time, up to a maximum of 45 school days in an academic year.
A permanent exclusion is the most serious sanction a school can give when a pupil does something that is against the schools behaviour policy and should be used as a last resort. it means that the child can no longer attend the school.
A permanent exclusion should only happen in response to –
- a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school’s behaviour
- where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school
If a school sends a pupil home to “cool off”, even if parents are in agreement, this is an exclusion and the school have a responsibility to record it. When these types of exclusions are not recorded they are unlawful. They may also be referred to as an unofficial or informal exclusions.
Education during an exclusion
During the first 5 days the school should take reasonable steps to provide work to be completed at home. If your child has been excluded and work has not been sent home, you can contact the school to request it.
Following an exclusion the school must arrange suitable full-time education for the pupil to begin on the 6th day of the exclusion. If a child is permanently excluded, this is the responsibility of the Local Authority. If a child is in their final year of compulsory education and has no further exams to sit, then this does not apply.
If alternative education has not been arranged within 5 days, or a parent is not happy with the education identified, we recommend that they contact the school (for fixed period exclusions), or the Education Inclusion Service (for permanent exclusions). Parents can also make a complaint to them.
When a pupil is returning to school following an exclusion, the school should agree a plan with the pupil and the parent or carer for helping them to settle back in and address any issues that led to the exclusion.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
If a school has concerns about the behaviour of a pupil with SEN and/or an EHCP and identifies they may be at risk of exclusion, it should consider what additional support may be required and whether a different school would be more suitable.
The head teacher, as far as possible should avoid excluding a child with an EHCP and a school should consider requesting an early Annual Review or Interim Review.
Schools have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate against pupils on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability.
The school must also have regard for the SEND Code of Practice, (statutory guidance for those working with children and young people with SEND).
Governing body panel
It is the responsibility of the schools governing body to review exclusions and consider if they are lawful, reasonable and fair. The governors have the authority to reinstate a pupil into the school if they feel it is appropriate.
The governors of a school must meet to consider an exclusion where it is:
- More than 15 days (in one term)
- Means that a pupil would miss an exam
- If the exclusion is between 5.5 and 15 days (in one term) and the parent requests a meeting.
Where the governing body are legally required to consider reinstating a pupil, they must share their decision in writing with parents, the head teacher and the local authority, without delay.
If the exclusion is for less than 5 days, parents can request a meeting with the governors however, the decision to hold a meeting is at their discretion and they do not have the authority to reinstate the pupil into school in this circumstance.
Right to independent review
If the governors uphold the schools decision to permanently exclude a pupil, parents have the right to request an independent review of the exclusion. This meeting is known as an Independent Review Panel (IRP) and will review the decision of the governing body.
When an independent review is requested, parents can also request that an SEN expert attends the review, (this includes circumstances where the school may not identify the child as having SEN). An SEN expert is someone who has expertise and experience in Special Educational Needs and provides impartial specialist advice to the parent. The IRP cannot reinstate a child into a school, however, it can direct the governors to look at their decision again.
After an IRP, if the child remains excluded, parents can ask the Local Government Ombudsman (or the Education Funding Agency if the school’s an academy or free school) to look at the case. However, they do not have the authority to change the schools decision.
If a pupil is excluded and parents don’t want to challenge the exclusion but are not happy with the way the school handled it, they can follow the normal school complaints process which can be found by contacting the school or looking on the school’s website.
Where can I get more information, advice or support?
You can read the statutory guidance relating to exclusions.
You can also contact SENDIASS who can offer you:
- information about the exclusion process
- advice and support if your child has been excluded
The information included on this page is taken from the following sources:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-exclusion, http://www.ace-ed.org.uk/advice/exclusion-from-school/permanent-exclusion/, http://www.ace-ed.org.uk/advice/exclusion-from-school/fixed-period-exclusion/, https://www.gov.uk/school-discipline-exclusions/exclusions