Skip to content

What to do if your child is excluded from school

Exclusion is used by the school when a pupil has breached the school’s behaviour policy. In all exclusions, the pupil is not allowed onto the school site for the period of the exclusion unless specific permission has been given by the school.  There are two types of exclusion:

Suspension (Previously call Fixed Term Exclusion)

  • A specified number of days or lunchtimes when a pupil is not allowed into school.

Permanent exclusion

  • When the headteacher has decided that a pupil should not continue at the school and that allowing the pupil to remain would harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

If your child is excluded the school must write to you and inform 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.


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. Failure to pay within 21 days will mean the fine increases to £120. Failure to pay within 28 days could result in you appearing before a court.

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. This provision will aim to be arranged for children open to social care no later than the first 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.

Permanent Exclusion leaflet PEX leaflet​

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)

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).​

Government guidance states that during the first five school days of a suspension or permanent exclusion, the school should take reasonable steps to set and mark work for the pupil. Online pathways such as Google Classroom or Oak Academy can be used but schools should ensure that the work set is accessible and achievable by the pupil outside school.

For a suspension of more than five school days, the governing board (or local authority about a pupil suspended from a PRU) must arrange suitable full-time education for any pupil of compulsory school age. This provision is commonly called alternative provision and must begin no later than the sixth school day of the suspension.

Provision does not have to be arranged by either the school or the local authority for a pupil in the final year of compulsory education who does not have any further public examinations to sit.

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 Coordinator (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 suspension 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.

If any of these unlawful exclusions are carried out and lead to the deletion of a pupil’s name from the register, this is known as ‘off-rolling’.

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 (2022) ‘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. If you believe that you are being pressured into a managed move or are unhappy with a managed move, you can take up the issue through the school’s formal complaints procedure with the governing board and, where appropriate, the local authority.

Schools can direct 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. The length of time a pupil spends in another mainstream school or AP and the reintegration plan must be kept under review by the governing body, who must hold review meetings at such intervals as they, having regard to the needs of the pupil, consider appropriate, for as long as the requirement remains in effect. Not later than six days before the date of any review meeting, a governing body must give a written invitation to parents to attend the review meeting, or to submit in writing before the date of the meeting their views as to whether off-site direction should continue to have effect. The governing body must ensure, insofar as is practicable, that any review meeting is convened on a date, and at a time, that is suitable for the parent.

Another example of off-rolling would be exercising undue influence over a parent to remove their child from the school under the threat of a permanent exclusion and encouraging them to choose Elective Home Education or to find another school place.

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.  https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/education-and-learning/home-education/

Schools should support pupils to reintegrate successfully into school life and full-time education following a suspension. The reintegration strategy should offer pupils a fresh start, help them understand the impact of their behaviour on themselves and others, teach them how to meet the high expectations of behaviour in line with the school culture, foster a renewed sense of belonging within the school community and build engagement with learning.

The reintegration strategy should be clearly communicated at a reintegration meeting before or at the beginning of the pupil’s return to school. During a reintegration meeting, the school should communicate to the pupil that they are valued, and their previous behaviour should not be seen as an obstacle to future success. Where possible this meeting should include you as parent or carer.

However, it is important to note that a pupil should not be prevented from returning to a mainstream classroom if you (parent/carer) are unable or unwilling to attend a reintegration meeting. To ensure ongoing progress, the strategy should be regularly reviewed and adapted where necessary throughout the reintegration process in collaboration with you, your child and other relevant parties.

Where necessary, schools should work with relevant staff and multi-agency organisations, such as teachers, pastoral staff, mentors, social workers, educational psychologists or the safer schools team, to identify if your child has any SEND and/or health needs.

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 considers reinstatement if the number of days exclusion is under 5.

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.

Headteachers may cancel an exclusion that has not been reviewed by the governing board. This practice is sometimes known as withdrawing/rescinding a suspension or permanent exclusion. If this occurs, parents, the governing board and the local authority should be notified, and if relevant, the social worker and Virtual School Head.

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 headteacher. Headteachers 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 headteacher 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. In some cases parents will need to request the consideration and in others it is an automatic part of the process.

For suspensions, the governing board must consider any case made by parents but there are different processes depending on total number of suspended days within a term (based on 3 terms  a year).

Situations where parental request for consideration are required:

  • Where a suspension means the total of suspended days within a term is 5 days or less , Governors are required to consider parental representations, there is no deadline for this meeting to be arranged, however, if this does occur then it should happen within a reasonable amount of time.

 

  • When a suspension means the total number of suspended days within a term is between 6 and 15, if the parents make representations, the Governing board must consider and decide within 50 school days of receiving notice of suspension whether the suspended pupil should be reinstated,

 

Situations where Governor review is automatic part of exclusion process:

the governing board must consider, within 15 school days of being told about the exclusion, whether the excluded pupil should be reinstated when:

  • It is a permanent exclusion.
  • It is a suspensions where the pupil will miss more than 15 days in one term,
  • The pupil 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).

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 or permanent exclusion.

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).

 

Help us improve Gloucestershire County Council

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.