Exclusion of pupils
Reasons for a pupil being excluded from school
A pupil may be excluded if the headteacher of the school feels it's necessary to discipline the pupil for his or her behaviour connected to the school. This may be for a serious one-off incident or a series of incidents.
In making the decision to exclude, head teachers will look at all the evidence available to them at the time and make their decisions based on the ‘balance of probabilities’.
This means that they will look at all the evidence and decide whether it is more likely than not that the pupil did what he or she is accused of doing. If so, they will make the decision to exclude.
Headteachers' can exclude for incidents that take place going to and from school even if a pupil is involved in an incident outside school hours.
Examples of acceptable reasons to exclude:
- violent or threatening behaviour towards a member of staff or another pupil
- damage or threat of damage to school property
- sexual misconduct
- racist behaviour
- drug or alcohol related incidents
- carrying an offensive weapon
Examples of unacceptable reasons to exclude:
- not doing homework
- breaking school rules on appearance or uniform (except when persistent or openly defiant)
- poor academic performance
- poor attendance or lateness
What it means to be excluded from school
Exclusion means that the pupil cannot be in or near the school grounds for the period of time stated in the exclusion letter. During this period, if the pupil is seen in a public place during school hours the parents or carers may be subject to a fixed penalty notice.
There's two types of exclusion from school, fixed-term exclusion (suspension) and permanent exclusion.
Fixed-term exclusions (suspension)
This means that the pupil has been excluded from school for a fixed period of time. A pupil cannot be given suspensions which total more than 45 days in one school year.
The parents or carers should receive a letter from the school within one school day stating:
- the reason for the exclusion
- the dates and total number of days of the suspension
- the date of the re-integration meeting
It is important for the parents or carers and pupil to attend the re-integration meeting as this will give them both an opportunity to discuss the incident and highlight any concerns they may have.
Recording of suspensions on the pupil’s school record
The suspension letter will be included in the pupil’s school record. However, parents or carers have the right to appeal to the school's governing body if they do not agree with their child’s suspension. The governing body's decision letter will be placed in the pupil’s school record.
How parents or carers can appeal to the school's governing body
Parents or carers must write to the chair of the Governors' Discipline Committee (GDC) expressing their concerns and asking for a review of the head teacher’s decision to suspend their child.
The letter should be addressed to the school and will be passed on to the chair of the GDC. If the exclusion is over 15 school days or an accumulation of 15 school days in one school term, the GDC will meet automatically to review the exclusion.
Parents or carers will be invited to this meeting and can make representation to the panel. It is unusual for GDC to be able to reinstate the pupil, as the exclusion has usually passed and the pupil is back in school by the time the GDC meets. The decision letter will be placed in the pupil’s school record.
This is when the headteacher has taken the decision that the pupil should be removed from the school permanently. The GDC will be required to meet within 15 school days to review the decision. It is the parents or carers right to attend this meeting and make representations to the GDC.
If the GDC upholds the Headteacher’s decision to permanently exclude the pupil, the parents or carers also have the right to make to request an Independent Review of the exclusion. The school will give you information on how to request an Independent Review if your child is not reinstated at the GDC.
The Independent Review Panel is set up by the school if the school is an academy or free school, or by the local authority if it is not an academy or free school. This panel is independent of the school and will review the decision made by the GDC.
How a child is educated when a permanent exclusion has been issued
During the first five days, school staff must set and mark work for the excluded child. The headteacher will make arrangements for the work to be collected and returned to the school.
From the sixth day onwards, if the child is of statutory school age, the local authority where the child lives must provide full-time education (regardless of the outcome of the governors’ hearing). If the child is registered at a school in another borough, it is the duty of the school to notify the local authority where the child lives.
For further advice please contact:
Jane.firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 0208 359 7743