Why might a child be excluded?
The decision to exclude lies with the headteacher/principal. They can only exclude your child for:
- a disciplinary reason (eg because their behaviour violates the school's behaviour policy);
- a behaviour outside of school;
- repeatedly disobeying academic instructions.
They cannot exclude your child for:
- academic performance/ability;
- additional needs or a disability.
The information a parent receives when their child is excluded
The headteacher/principal, without delay, must let parents know the type of exclusion and the reason(s) for it.
They must also, without delay, provide parents with the following information in writing:
- the reason(s) for the exclusion;
- the length of the exclusion;
- parents' right to make representations about the exclusion to the governing board and how the parent's child may be involved in this and how any representations should be made;
- where there is a legal requirement for the governing board to consider the exclusion, in this case parents have a right to attend the meeting, to be represented at that meeting (at their own expense) and to bring a friend;
- the days on which the parents must ensure that their child is not present in a public place at any time during school hours.
If alternative provision is being arranged, then the following information must be included where it can reasonably be found out:
- the start date for any provision of full-time education that has been arranged for your child during the exclusion;
- the start and finish times of any such provision, including the times for morning and afternoon sessions where relevant;
- the address at which the provision will take place; and
- any information required by you to identify the person they should report to on the first day.
Where this information is not reasonably ascertainable by the end of the afternoon session on the first day of exclusion, it may be provided in a subsequent notice. However, it must be provided without delay and no later than 48 hours before the provision is due to start. The only exception to this is where alternative provision is to be provided before the sixth day of an exclusion, in which case the information can be provided with less than 48 hours' notice for your consent.
How often can a child be fixed term excluded?
Your child can be fixed term excluded for no more than 45 school days in one school year.
Keep in mind:
- this means they cannot have one fixed-period exclusion of 46 school days or more;
- they cannot have lots of shorter fixed-period exclusions that add up to more than 45 school days;
- lunchtime exclusions are counted as half a day.
Challenging a school's decision to exclude
Parents can challenge the school's decision to exclude.
You'll get a letter from the school telling you what to do if you disagree with the exclusion.
You can ask the school's governor board to overturn a fixed term exclusion if either:
- our child has been excluded for more than 5 days;
- the exclusion means they'll miss a public exam or national curriculum test.
If the exclusion is for 5 days or fewer, you can still ask the governor board to hear your views but they can't overturn the headteacher/principal decision.
If your child is permanently excluded you'll be invited to a review meeting with the school's governor board. This will happen within 15 school days.
If the governor board don't overturn the permanent exclusion, you can ask for an independent review by our local authority (or academy trust if the school's an academy). The governor board must tell you how to do this.
If your child is still permanently excluded after the independent review you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman (https://www.lgo.org.uk/make-a-complaint) or the Education Funding Agency (if the school's an academy or free school - https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/education-funding-agency/about/complaints-procedurel) to look at whether your case was handled properly. They can't overturn the permanent exclusion.
The local authority's involvement in the review of a permanent exclusion
We endeavour to make representation at all the governor boards.
In the case of a maintained school, the local authority representative can ask questions to clarify facts at any stage of proceedings. We will give a statement in general terms on our view of the appropriateness of the exclusion (e.g. how other schools might have dealt with a similar incident; whether the school had sought to support your child and prevent exclusion through the use of appropriate interventions; whether statutory guidance and school policy has been followed) and draw governors' attention to issues where there is a need for further clarity or where it appears that guidance has not been followed. We can also advise on arrangements for your child's educational provision should the exclusion be upheld.
In the case of an academy, we may only make representations as outlined above with the governing board's consent.
If parents feel that their child has been discriminated against because they have a disability
Schools have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate against any child on the basis of protected characteristics. Any issue can be raised during the exclusion consideration meeting with the governor board.
If the governor board decides not to reinstate your child after a permanent exclusion, you can:
- request an independent review panel to review the governing board's decision;
- 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.
Whether or not a school recognises your child as having SEN, all parents have the right to request the presence of an SEN expert at an independent review meeting. The SEN expert's role is to advise the review panel, orally or in writing or both, impartially, of the relevance of SEN in the context and circumstances of the review. For example, they may advise whether the school acted reasonably in relation to its legal duties when excluding your child.
Where there is an allegation of discrimination (under the Equality Act 2010) in relation to a fixed-period or permanent exclusion, parents can also make a claim to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) for disability discrimination.
For all other forms of discrimination parents can make a claim to the County Court.