School Exclusions

Support and Information about school exclusions.

The Government’s exclusion guidance states that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) should only be permanently excluded from school in exceptional circumstances.

Schools should take into account children’s SEND and how it affects their behaviour, for example if the child has Autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities or social and communication difficulties.

For a pupil with SEND, schools should take into account the need to identify the child’s needs and provide additional support. This could include putting in place a Pastoral Support Plan (PSP).

What is lawful

There are only two types of exclusion which are lawful:

  • permanent
  • fixed-period.

Only the head teacher of a school (or the teacher in charge of an alternative provision college) can exclude a pupil.

Any exclusion of a pupil, even for a short period of time, must be formally recorded. A pupil must only be excluded on disciplinary grounds. The decision to exclude must be:

  • lawful
  • rational
  • reasonable
  • fair
  • proportionate.

Both types of exclusions are serious actions for schools to take and neither should be considered before all other options have been exhausted. Exclusion from school, even short term, should be viewed as a last resort.

What is required of the school

Parents must be notified without delay, in writing, stating:

  • the reason for the exclusion
  • the length of the exclusion
  • arrangements for any alternative provision
  • parents right to respond or appeal.

Type of exclusion

Fixed-period exclusions

Fixed-period exclusions are for fixed periods of time, such as a number of days or even for part of the school day (for example lunchtimes). When added together, fixed-term exclusions cannot exceed 45 days in one academic year. The pupil remains on the school roll during the exclusion, and returns to school on a stated date.

Permanent exclusions

Permanent exclusions happen when a pupil is removed from school permanently and their name is taken off the school roll.

Permanent exclusions should only be resorted to in situations where the child has seriously breached the schools behaviour policy and the child remaining in school could seriously harm the education or welfare of other pupils.

As a parent, you can request a copy of this policy so that you are aware of its contents. You should be able to find this policy on the school’s website. You can also request a copy of your child’s school records to look at any incidents and witness statements that are related to the incident. You will need to give the school up to 10 school days to provide the school record and they may charge for photocopying. This may help if you want to appeal the decision.

Entitlement to alternative provision

If excluded, the school or the Local Authority must make arrangements for suitable education.

Get support

The West Sussex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support SENDIAS service can help by:

  • advising you further with the exclusions process
  • informing you of your rights and responsibilities as a parent carer
  • assisting you in preparing your appeal case
  • supporting you with your meeting (we may be able to attend in some circumstances but not as an advocate)
  • signposting to other organisations that may be able to support and help you

The role of the SENDIAS service is to ensure that all parents have access to impartial information, advice and support so they can make informed decisions about their child’s special educational needs.

Any information that is shared with SENDIAS is in confidence unless permission has been obtained to share this with other individuals, services and agencies that may be able to help the family with their circumstances.

For more detailed information about school exclusions visit the SENDIAS factsheets page and find the 'Schools Exclusions' factsheet.

How to contact SENDIAS

Helpline: 033 022 28555

Where to get further advice