Exclusion from School
Only the head teacher can exclude a pupil. All exclusions must be on disciplinary grounds (inside or outside of school) and must be lawful, reasonable and fair.
Every school should have a published behaviour policy on their school website, which identifies both the expectations of the pupil (code of conduct) and the school in how they work with you and your child. Where there is a breach of the schools behaviour policy, schools are permitted to impose sanctions (punishments). How they respond to your child’s behaviours should be clearly identified within their policy. They should also take account of your child’s age, any special educational needs or disability they may have, and any religious requirements affecting them. Exclusion is only one of many strategies available to schools; and where possible only used once other measures have been tried first.
Exclusion can either be fixed term for a set number of days or permanent. Fixed term exclusions cannot exceed 45 school days in any one academic year. In exceptional cases, usually where further evidence has come to light, a fixed period exclusion may be extended by issuing another letter identifying the new period of exclusion or converted to permanent.
Unofficial exclusions are unlawful and should be challenged. Examples of unlawful exclusions are where schools ask parents to collect their child early from school in order ‘to calm down or cool off’, or present that it is in the child’s best interest to stay at home for a period of time without following formal exclusion procedures.
Unofficial exclusions are often presented as favourable to parents and children. However, they often lack reason and clarity about how long the exclusion will last. They can lead to children missing considerable amounts of education, making it harder to return to school. It also means parents have reduced rights to make representations to the governors or challenge school decisions.
It is also unlawful for schools to persuade parents to educate their children at home (elective home education) as a way of avoiding an exclusion. If you are concerned that your child’s school has suggested home education, or would like more information on home education, please contact the Pupil Access Officer, Kim Holmes on 01702 215073 or KimHolmes@southend.gov.uk who is available to support you before you make any decisions to remove a child from school as well as challenge schools acting unlawfully.
Exclusion should not be used or extended for non-disciplinary reasons such as:
- truancy or lateness
- minor incidents such as failing to do homework
- simply because the school feels a student has additional needs or a disability it is unable to meet
- poor academic performance
- breaking of school rules on uniform and appearance
- punishing pupils for the behaviour of their parents
- the failure of a pupil to meet certain conditions before they are reinstated
You have the right to tell a schools governing body what you think about your child’s exclusion both for fixed term exclusions and permanent exclusions. This is called making representations and the school should have advised you of how to do this in their letter to you.
If your child has been excluded for more than five consecutive days, the school MUST provide your child with alternative provision. You will not get a choice where this provision is but just sending work home is not acceptable. Where a child has been permanently excluded, your child will be provided with education from the sixth day of the exclusion letter, by Victory Park Academy.
For advice and guidance in relation to school exclusions, please contact Tracy Jones or Mark Aspel at Victory Park Academy on 01702 904644 who can support parents with independent information on exclusions, school responsibilities and expectations and/or by attending Governor Discipline meetings and Independent Review Panels. In addition, if your child has special educational needs the Information Advice and Support Services Manager is also able to support you with advice and by attending meetings and can be contacted on 01702 534793.
Further information on exclusions for parents and schools can be found by accessing the following downloads or by visiting the Department for Educations parent advice page:
- Part 1 Southend-on-Sea Exclusions General Guidance and Essential Information
- Part 2 Southend-on-Sea Exclusions Procedures and Protocols
- Part 3 Southend-on-Sea Exclusions Model Letters
Page last updated: 30/01/2019