Suspension and Exclusion from School
Only the head teacher can suspend or exclude a pupil. All suspensions and 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. Suspension and exclusion is only one of many strategies available to schools; and where possible only used once other measures have been tried first.
Suspension and exclusion can either be for a set number of days or permanent. Suspensions cannot exceed 45 school days in any one academic year. In exceptional cases, usually where further evidence has come to light, a suspension may be extended by issuing another letter identifying the new period of suspension or issuing a permanent exclusion letter.
Unofficial suspensions are unlawful and should be challenged. Examples of unlawful suspensions 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 suspensions are often presented as favourable to parents and children. However, they often lack reason and clarity about how long the suspensions 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 suspension or 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 Elective Home Education Access Officer on 01702 215073 who is available to support you before you make any decisions to remove a child from school as well as challenge schools acting unlawfully.
Suspensions 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 suspensions 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 suspended 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 and you live in Southend, 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 suspensions and exclusions, please contact the Inclusion Team by email or by telephoning 01702 534540 where an Inclusion Officer 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 SENDIASS - Special Educational Needs and Disability, Information Advice and Support Service team are also able to support you with advice and can be contacted on 01702 215499.
Further information on exclusions for parents and schools can be found by accessing the following downloads or by visiting the