Exclusion of Pupils

A decision to exclude a child for a fixed period or permanently should be taken only:

  • In response to serious breaches of a school's disciplinary policy
  • If allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or of others in the school

Informing the 'relevant person' about the exclusion 

Under the new regulations which came into force on January 2004 the 'relevant person' means:

  • The parent, if the pupil was aged ten or below on the day before the beginning of the school year in which he/she was excluded
  • Both the parent and pupil if the pupil is of compulsory school age and was aged eleven or above on the day before the beginning of the school year in which he/she was excluded. The pupil if aged over compulsory school (normally 16)

The head teacher who excludes a pupil must ensure that the relevant person is notified immediately, ideally be telephone. The initial telephone notification must be followed up by a letter within one school day. Exclusion should normally begin on the next school day. Pupils subject to exclusion are not to be left unsupervised or sent from premises. 

Head teachers must arrange for work to be provided as soon as a pupil is excluded for a fixed period. Parents should arrange for the work to be collected and returned and the school must ensure that it is marked and that further work is provide until the pupil returns to school. Letters to parents informing them of the exclusion must include the arrangements for setting and marking work.

Types of Exclusion

The decision to exclude

Only the head teacher, or someone designed as the acting head teacher, has the power to exclude a pupil from the school. 

Exclusion should not be decided in the heat of the moment, unless there is immediate risk to the safety of others in the school or the pupil concerned.

Length of the exclusion

Regulations under the Education Act 2002 allow head teachers to exclude a pupil for more fixed periods not exceeding 45 days in any one school year. However, individual exclusions should be for the shortest time necessary to secure the benefits of exclusion without adverse educational consequences. 

In all cases of more than a days exclusion, head teachers must arrange work to be collected and returned and the school must ensure further work is set until the pupil returns to school.

Lunchtime exclusions

Some children's behaviour can be particularly difficult at lunchtime. Where this is the case it may be possible through discussion and agreement with the parent to arrange for the pupil to go home for lunch. If this is not feasible, provision exists to exclude the legal responsibility for the child back with the parent. Where lunchtime exclusion is used it should be a short-term measure only. If a child is in receipt of free school meals arrangements should be made to provide a meal and this may mean a packed lunch.

Permanent exclusions

Permanent exclusion is an extremely serious step. It is an acknowledgement by a school that it has exhausted all available strategies for dealing with the child and can no longer have a child in its community.

Pupils with additional educational needs (SEN)

Other than in the most exceptional circumstances, schools should avoid permanent exclusion for pupils with a statement of SEN. In most cases the head teacher will be aware that the school, whether mainstream or special, is having difficulty managing a pupil's behaviour, well before the situation has reached the point that exclusion needs to be considered.

Schools should try every practicable means to maintain placements, including liaison with the LEA and if necessary will arrange a statutory review of the statement.

An officer should be charged with taking forward the action agreed. This will be the designated Inclusion Officer of the schools.

Appeal Process & Reintegration

Appeal Process

The head teachers exclusion letter should inform the relevant person of the procedures should they wish to make representation or appeal against the exclusion to the Discipline Committee of the Governing Body. Subsequently there is a right of appeal to an Independent Appeals Panel for permanent exclusions and again, the relevant person should be fully informed at the appropriate time.

The Authority (including the governing body of a Voluntary Aided School) may refuse to comply with parental preference for a period of the year following a second or subsequent exclusion in such circumstances (a parent is unable to appeal).


An individual reintegration plan (or transition plan) should be drawn up for the pupil to return to school or education outside school, whichever is more appropriate.

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Inclusion Service

Tel: 01495 766929 or 01495 766968

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