What to do if your child is excluded from school

Exclusions can be suspensions (previously call fixed term exclusions) which are for a specified number of days or lunchtimes when a pupil is not allowed into school or a permanent exclusion. If your child is excluded the school must write to informing you of the reason for the exclusion, start date of the exclusion and the length of time if they are suspended.

All schools must have a behaviour policy which should set out how pupils are expected to behave in the classroom, at lunch breaks and outside of school, for example, at bus stops. You should be able to download the policy from the school's website or request a copy from the school reception.

Any pupil who fails to follow the school behaviour policy may face sanctions in line with that policy which could include a suspension or, as a last resort, permanent exclusion.

Leaflet for parents - exclusions


During an exclusion, your child is not allowed onto the school site for the period of that exclusion unless specific permission has been given by the school. During the initial period of up to five school days of any exclusion, whether a suspension or permanent, you must ensure that your child is not present in a public place during normal school hours without reasonable justification. If you fail to comply with this requirement you will be guilty of an offence and you might be given a fixed penalty notice of £60.

When a child is permanently excluded, the local authority will arrange suitable full-time education for your child; this will begin no later than the sixth school day of the exclusion.

The school’s governing board must meet to consider whether they believe the exclusion should be upheld. This meeting should be within 15 school days of you receiving notice of the permanent exclusion. This meeting is called a Governor Disciplinary Meeting (GDM) and you will be invited to attend and given an opportunity to talk about the exclusion and to share any information you consider to be relevant.

Leaflet for parents- permanent exclusions

The governing board of your child’s school must consider parent’s/carer’s representations about an exclusion in the following circumstances.

1. The governing board must convene a meeting to consider reinstatement within 15 days of receiving the notice of exclusion in these circumstances.

  • All permanent exclusions
  • A suspension that takes the total days of exclusion above 15 in a term (three term school year)

2. The governing board must convene a meeting to consider reinstatement within 50 days of receiving the notice of exclusion if a suspension takes the total number of days above 5 but below 15 for the term AND the parents have requested it.

3. The governing board must consider any representations made by parents if the number of days of the suspension is below 5 in a term. However they do not have the power to decide to reinstate the pupil.

Permanent Exclusions Flowchart

If Governors decide to uphold the Headteacher's decision to permanently exclude a pupil at the Governors Disciplinary Meeting (GDM), parents/carers, have the right of appeal to an Independent Review Panel (IRP). Parents/carers can appeal the decision at an IRP even if they did not attend the Governors Disciplinary Meeting.

All parents have the right to request the presence of a Special Educational Needs (SEN) expert at an Independent Review Panel regardless of whether or not a school recognises that a pupil has special educational needs (SEN). The SEN expert’s role is to provide impartial advice to the panel about how SEN could be relevant to the exclusion; for example, whether the school acted reasonably in relation to its legal duties when excluding the pupil.

The Independent Review Panel can either-

  • Uphold the exclusion
  • Recommend the Governing Body reconsiders their decision or
  • Quash the decision and direct the Governing Body to consider the exclusion again

The governing board should confirm the details of where the parents’ application for an independent review panel should be sent in their decision letter. The letter should include the date by which an application for a review must be made, where and to whom an application for a review (and any written evidence) should be submitted (this is normally the clerk of the independent review panel).

If parents believe that there has been unlawful discrimination in relation to the exclusion then they may make a claim under the Equality Act 2010 to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) in the case of disability discrimination, or the County Court, in the case of other forms of discrimination. A claim of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 should be lodged within six months of the date on which the discrimination is alleged to have taken place (e.g. the day on which the pupil was excluded).​

If your child is permanently excluded or issued a suspension which exceeds 5 school days (including where a child receives consecutive suspensions) they must be provided with suitable, full time education. For the first five days of any exclusion the school must take reasonable steps to set and mark work for the child. The work should be accessible and achievable for your child outside of school.

Suspension (Previously called fixed term exclusion)

The governing board of your child’s school is responsible for arranging this suitable, full time education which must begin no later than the sixth school day of the exclusion.

Permanent exclusion

If your child has been permanently excluded from school they will be automatically referred to an Alternative Provision School.

The Alternative Provision School (APS) will provide full time education on behalf of the Local Authority from the sixth day of the permanent exclusion. Someone from the APS will contact you to discuss your child's needs before the sixth day.


Unlawful Exclusions

It is unlawful to...

The school should have looked to identify your child’s needs and put in place appropriate support through the Graduated Pathway (My Plan, My Plan+, EHCP). Support should follow the Assess, Plan, Do, Review process. The school may look to draw on additional support from external agencies where appropriate.

Appropriate services could include -

  • Advisory Teaching Service (ATS)
  • Educational Psychology Service (EPS)
  • Education Inclusion Service (EIS)
  • School Nurse Service
  • Occupational Therapist (OT)
  • Speech and Language Therapist (SALT)
  • Children & Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS)
  • Early Help Co-ordinator (EHCO)

Where there are multiple agencies involved with supporting your child’s needs the school should hold Team Around The Child (TAC) meetings to review the provision in place for your child and look at adapting strategies to support your child, if necessary, so that their needs can be met in an effective and timely manner.

If your child has a medical condition an Individual Healthcare Plan should have been considered and appropriate medical professionals consulted to ensure your child can play a full and active part in school life, stay healthy and fulfil their potential.

If your child has an EHCP then the school should have spoken with the EHCP Caseworker about holding an emergency annual review to consider what additional support or alternative placement may be required.

The school should have looked to identify your child’s needs and put in place appropriate support through the Graduated Pathway (My Plan, My Plan+, EHCP). Support should follow the Assess, Plan, Do, Review process. The school may look to draw on additional support from external agencies where appropriate.

Appropriate services could include -

  • Advisory Teaching Service (ATS)
  • Educational Psychology Service (EPS)
  • Education Inclusion Service (EIS)
  • Occupational Therapist (OT)
  • Speech and Language Therapist (SALT)

Where there are multiple agencies involved with supporting your child’s needs the school should hold Team Around The Child (TAC) meetings to review the provision in place for your child and look at adapting strategies to support your child, if necessary, so that their needs can be met in an effective and timely manner.

The school should have sought support from external agencies.

Appropriate services could include -

  • Early Help Coordinator (EHCO)
  • Police
  • Duty Social Worker
  • Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

School should have referred to DfE guidance for schools if concerns relate to the behaviours of parents:

Best practice guidance for school complaints procedures 2020

Advice on school security: Access to, and barring of individuals from, school premises

The school could have sought support from the Education Inclusion Service to look at best practise regarding reintegration and inclusive processes.

It is reasonable to offer a reintegration meeting to you and your child to develop a joint support plan moving forward. However, your child’s return cannot be conditional to attendance at this meeting.

The school should have carried out appropriate risk assessment and put actions in place to mitigate any unnecessary future risk to pupils and staff.

The school should have looked to identify your child’s needs and put in place appropriate support through the Graduated Pathway (My Plan, My Plan+, EHCP). Support should follow the Assess, Plan, Do, Review process. The school may look to draw on additional support from external agencies where appropriate.

Appropriate services could include -

  • Education Inclusion Service (EIS)
  • Restorative Practise Team (RP)
  • Gloucestershire Police – Schools Beat / Aston Project

Youth Support Team (YST)

In situations where a school believes a child needs to be sent home, a fixed period exclusion must always be issued. This is the case even if a school has phoned you to come into school and you are in agreement with taking the child home.

The school should have looked to identify your child’s needs and put in place appropriate support through the Graduated Pathway (My Plan, My Plan+, EHCP). Support should follow the Assess, Plan, Do, Review process. The school may look to draw on additional support from external agencies where appropriate.

Appropriate services could include -

  • Advisory Teaching Service (ATS)
  • Educational Psychology Service (EPS)
  • Education Inclusion Service (EIS)

In rare situations, with professional advice (e.g. Paediatrician, CAMHS) it may be necessary to put in place a plan which includes a child being allowed home when required. For example a child with a severe medical condition may need to be collected on short notice.  However – this must be part of a prearranged plan and supported by medical evidence.

There is no legal definition of off-rolling but Ofsted defines off-rolling as - ‘the practice of removing a pupil from the school roll without using a permanent exclusion, when the removal is primarily in the best interests of the school, rather than the best interests of the pupil. This includes pressuring a parent to remove their child from the school roll.’

Schools should not pressure you to take your children out of school to avoid an exclusion – many parents simply do not want a permanent exclusion on their child’s record. This is a clear example of off-rolling and is never acceptable, as the statutory guidance on exclusions makes clear. Exclusions rightly go through a robust process to make sure that they are justified. Avoiding this is not fair to pupils or parents.

 ‘A pupil at any type of school can also transfer to another school as part of a ‘managed move’ where this occurs with the consent of the parties involved, including the parents and the admission authority of the school. However, the threat of exclusion must never be used to influence parents to remove their child from the school.Exclusion from Maintained Schools, Academies and Pupil Referral Units (2017) ‘If these moves are used in pupils’ best interests, with the agreement of everyone involved within the statutory guidance, this is not off-rolling.’ Dan Owen HMI, Specialist Adviser. However, if parents feel pressured into accepting a managed move this could be constituted as off-rolling

In Gloucestershire we encourage families to make an informed decision regarding home education. Schools should not encourage or coerce you to de-register your child from school for the purposes of elective home education (EHE) and equally, school should not create any barriers or seek to dissuade you once you have decided to home educate your child. Exit discussions can be offered whereby school, LA and yourself meet to discuss what home education involves and this provides an opportunity for you to ask any questions prior to making a decision. In addition, parent advisers at Gloucestershire County Council (01452 426015) can advise you about the EHE process including providing information about what home educating entails and the legal responsibility you are taking on.

Schools can direct a your child off- site for education to improve their behaviour , this could be provision such as an Alternative Provision School (APS). Your child must remain on the schools roll as their main base with the APS being subsidiary dual registered. The school retains overall responsibility for your child including safeguarding in these situations.

 

Where can I find support?

For more information you can contact the Local Authority’s Education Inclusion Service at:

Phone: 01452 427360

Email: schoolexclusions@gloucestershire.gov.uk

Government’s statutory guidance on exclusions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-exclusion

Sources of free, impartial support and information include

 

FAQ for parents

You will need to request that a Local Authority representative attends your child’s Governor disciplinary meeting (GDM) if the school your child attends is an academy.

You will need to request that the governing board meets to consider reinstatement if the number of days exclusion is between 5 and 15 for the term.

You will need to request for an Independent Review Panel (IRP) to be convened to consider the governing board’s decision not to reinstate your child. You have the right to request for a Special Educational Needs (SEN) expert to be present at an IRP regardless of whether the school recognises that their child has SEN.

FAQ answers taken from Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England guidance document, ‘Annex C - A guide for parents/carers’. (Page 56) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-exclusion

The term ‘must’ refers to what head teachers/governing boards/academy trusts/local authorities and parents are required to do by law. The term ‘should’ refers to recommendations for good practice as mentioned in the exclusions guidance.

In this document and in the exclusion guidance, ‘parents’ refers to parent(s)/legal guardian(s)/foster carer(s) of pupils under 18, as well as to pupils over 18, and the term ‘governing board’ includes the governing body of a maintained school, the management committee of a PRU and the academy trust of an academy.

Suspension: when a pupil is barred from the school for a set amount of time (including exclusions during lunchtime).

Permanent exclusion: when a pupil is permanently barred from the school premises.

Alternative provision: This refers to the education arrangements made for excluded pupils to continue to have a suitable, full-time education whilst they are excluded from school or cannot attend school for another reason. In some circumstances, alternative provision can be used where a child has not been excluded, including alongside mainstream or special education, or for a placement to address poor behaviour.​

Reasons for exclusion

There is no list of set behaviours for which a pupil can and cannot be excluded, and the decision to exclude lies with the head teacher. Head teachers can only exclude a pupil for a disciplinary reason (e.g. because their behaviour violates the school’s behaviour policy). They cannot, for example, exclude a pupil for academic performance/ability, or simply because they have additional needs or a disability that the school feels it is unable to meet. A head teacher can exclude for behaviour outside of school, or for repeatedly disobeying academic instructions.

Schools have the power to send a pupil to another education provider at a different location to improve their behaviour without the parents having to agree.

A school can also transfer a pupil to another school – a process called a ‘managed move’ - if they have the agreement of everyone involved, including the parents and the admission authority for the new school.

Schools cannot force a parent to remove their child permanently from the school or to keep their child out of school for any period of time without formally excluding. The threat of exclusion must never be used to influence parents to remove their child from the school.

‘Informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions, such as sending pupils home ‘to cool off’, are not allowed, even if they are with the agreement of parents. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must follow the formal process including being formally recorded (see below). Any suspension must have a stated end date.

Scrutiny of the exclusion

Parents have the right to make their case about the exclusion of their child to the governing board. For suspensions, unless the exclusion takes a pupil’s total number of school days of exclusion past five in that term, the governing board must consider any case made by parents, but it cannot make the school reinstate the pupil and is not required to meet the parents.

For all permanent exclusions, the governing board must consider, within 15 school days of being told about the exclusion, whether the excluded pupil should be reinstated. This is the same for suspensions where the pupil will miss more than 15 days in one term, or will miss a public examination (e.g. a GCSE) or a national curriculum test (e.g. a key stage 2 test taken at the end of primary school). For a suspension that brings a pupil’s total excluded days to more than five but under 15 the governing board must consider reinstatement within 50 school days if the parent asks it to do this.

If the governing board decides not to reinstate the pupil who has been permanently excluded, parents can request an independent review panel to review the governing board’s decision.

Information on school discipline and exclusions issued by the Department for Education can be found here https://www.gov.uk/school-discipline-exclusions/exclusions.

Schools have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate against pupils on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability or race, including in all stages of the exclusion process.

Parents can raise this issue during the exclusion consideration meeting with the governing board.

If the governing board decides not to reinstate the pupil who has been permanently excluded, parents can request an independent review panel to review the governing board’s decision. When making their request parents can ask for a Special Educational Needs (SEN) expert to attend the hearing to advise the panel on how SEN might be relevant to the exclusion. Parents can request this even if their child has not been officially recognised as having SEN.

If a parent believes that their child has been discriminated against in the exclusion process because of a disability, then they may also make a claim to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) within six months of the exclusion: www.tribunals.gov.uk/Tribunals/Firsttier/firsttier.htm . The Tribunal can consider claims about permanent and suspensions. For permanent exclusions, this can be done instead of, or in addition to, an independent review panel.

If the parent believes that a permanent or fixed period exclusion occurred as a result of discrimination other than in relation to disability (e.g. in relation to race) they can make a claim to the County Court.

Arrangements for my child after exclusion

Schools should take reasonable steps to set work for pupils during the first five days of a suspension.

From the sixth day of an exclusion, suitable full-time education must be arranged for pupils of compulsory school age (primary and secondary school age), except for Year 11 pupils (final year of secondary school) whose final exams have passed. In the case of a suspension of more than five school days, it is the duty of the school to arrange this education, unless the school is a PRU (in which case the local authority should make arrangements). If a parent wishes to raise a concern about lack of, or the quality of, education arranged during a suspension (and their child is still of compulsory school age), they may follow the school’s official complaints procedure.

In the case of a permanent exclusion, arranging suitable full-time education is the duty of the local authority for the area where the pupil lives. If a parent wishes to raise a concern about lack of, or the quality of, education following a permanent exclusion (and their child is still of compulsory school age), parents should complain to the local authority where they live. If parents are unsure about which local authority they need to speak to, they should ask the school for advice.

This is a decision for the school. Neither the school nor the local authority is legally required to arrange for an excluded pupil to take a public examination or national curriculum test that occurs during the exclusion, although some may choose to arrange for this, either on school premises or elsewhere. Where a parent has concerns about their child missing a public examination or national curriculum test, they should raise these with the school.

For the first five school days of any exclusion, parents must ensure that their child of compulsory school age is not in a public place during school hours without very good reason. Parents must also ensure that their child attends any new full-time education provided from the sixth day of exclusion (unless they have arranged suitable alternative education themselves).

 

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