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School exclusions

Only the head teacher or deputy head teacher (when acting in the head teacher’s absence) can exclude a pupil. Exclusion of a pupil must be used as discipline for bad behaviour inside or outside of school.

Types of exclusions

  • Fixed period exclusion – Barred from school temporarily
  • Permanent exclusion – Permanently banned from school
  • Lunchtime exclusion – Must stay off the school premises during lunch break period

Parents and carers

The head teacher must immediately contact you about the exclusion.

You should be informed of the:

  • reasons for the exclusion
  • period of a fixed-period exclusion, or for a permanent exclusion, the fact that it is permanent
  • parents’ right to make representations about the exclusion to the governing board and how the pupil may be involved in this
  • representations should any be made
  • legal requirement for the governing board to consider the exclusion, that parents have a right to attend a meeting, to be represented at that meeting (at their own expense) and to bring a friend.

Any exclusion even for a short period must be recorded in the school register and on the pupil’s school record.

If a further fixed period or permanent exclusion is issued, the head teacher must write to the parents again and explain the reasons. The school must set work for your child to complete at home during the first five days of the permanent exclusion. An alternative education placement will be offered if the exclusion is for more than 5 consecutive days.

If a pupil has been excluded for 15 school days or more in one term, will miss a public examination or national curriculum test due to the exclusion, or been issued with a permanent exclusion, the governors’ must meet to consider the exclusion. You have the right to attend the meeting and be accompanied by a friend or representative, or to make written representation to be considered by the governors.

If your child has been permanently excluded, you will automatically be contacted by an officer from North East Lincolnshire Council who will explain the next steps and answer any questions you may have regarding the process.

Department for Education (DfE) statutory guidance on exclusion

If your child is excluded they must not be present in a public place during school hours without reasonable justification or you could receive a fixed penalty fine. Your child must not enter the school/academy site during a period of exclusion.

Parents are asked to ensure that they attend reintegration meetings in school following a period of exclusion to discuss and support the arrangements in place to ensure their child’s smooth transition back into education.

Parents have the right to request a copy of their child’s school record. To do so please write to the head teacher via the school/academy address. There may be a charge for photocopying.

The Behaviour and Attendance Collaborative

The Behaviour and Attendance Collaborative (BAC) brings together schools and academies to work with and support each other to help children and young people who are experiencing difficulties fitting in to their school environment.

The BAC is a voluntary non-statutory group which involves all schools and academies in North East Lincolnshire. It aims to promote ‘sector-led’ improvement in relation to children and young people who are the responsibility of participating schools or academies. Referrals to the BAC process can only be made when the child or young person is registered at a school or academy in North East Lincolnshire.

BAC is separate to and different from the statutory responsibilities of the local authority for the placement of children onto a school roll.

Referral to other services

  • Children’s Legal Centre
  • North East Lincolnshire Council Exclusions Officer – 01472 324105
  • Local Authority Special Educational Needs Assessment and Review Team – 01472 326291 option 2
  • SENDIASS (formerly the Parent Partnership Service at Barnado’s) – 01472 355365

Current providers

Information for Governors

There is a duty placed upon school governing bodies to consider representations by parents in relation to exclusions. The requirements to consider an exclusion will be dependent upon the circumstances of the excluded pupil.

A governing body in a maintained school may delegate its functions to a sub- committee consisting of a quorum of at least three governors.

In the case of an academy, the academy council may delegate its functions to a smaller sub-committee but only if the trust’s articles of association permit this.

Exemptions to membership of the Pupil Discipline Committee include any party who has prior knowledge of or involvement with the excluded pupil. Any staff governor working at the excluding school or academy may not participate in or vote upon a decision concerning pupil exclusion.

Governors must consider the reinstatement of an excluded pupil within fifteen school days (School days do not include dates upon which the school is closed) of notification if the exclusion is permanent or is a fixed period exclusion bringing the pupil’s total number of school days of exclusion to fifteen or more in a single term, or would result in the pupil missing a public examination or national curriculum test.

In the case of a fixed period exclusion which does not bring the pupil’s total number of days of exclusion to more than five in a term, the governing body must consider any representations made by parents but cannot direct reinstatement and is not required to meet with parents.

Where a pupil would be excluded for more than five but less than fifteen school days in a term and parents make representations, the governing body must consider within fifty school days of receiving notification whether the pupil should be reinstated.

Where a pupil has reached fifteen or more days in one term, governors are required to meet within fifteen school days.

When reinstatement cannot be directed because the pupil’s exclusion has expired and the pupil has returned to school, the governing body must consider whether the head teacher’s decision to exclude was justified based upon the evidence, recording their findings upon the pupil’s school record.

There is no automatic right for an excluded pupil to be permitted onto site for the purpose of sitting an examination or test. Where an exclusion would result in a pupil missing a public examination or a national curriculum test, there is a further requirement for a governing body to consider the exclusion before the date of the examination or test.  If not practicable, for example where there are insufficient governors and the sub-committee would not be quorate to meet before the date of the examination or test, the Chair of Governors in a maintained school may consider the exclusion alone and decide whether or not to reinstate the pupil. In the case of an academy, the exclusion may be considered by a smaller sub-committee if the trust’s articles of association permit this.

When a governing body is legally required to consider the reinstatement of a pupil governors should not discuss the exclusion with any party outside of the meeting. Governors should also declare any interest well in advance of the meeting, formally communicating the nature of the interest to the clerk, thereby enabling time for the clerk to secure a substitute member for the committee should this be necessary.

Governors are required to invite and allow representations from parents, the head teacher and in the case of a maintained school, a representative from the local authority.

When possible, written evidence should be circulated to all parties by the clerk at least five school days in advance of the meeting, to include a list of those who will be present. It is beneficial to also circulate a copy of the procedure for the meeting.

Pupil Discipline Committee Procedure – Permanent Exclusion (Word, 28KB)

Reasonable adjustments should be made to support the attendance and contribution of all parties at the meeting, for example appropriate building access, the services of a translator for families whose first language is not English and permitting parents/carers to be accompanied by a friend or representative.

Governors should also consider and identify the steps that will be taken to encourage and enable the excluded pupil to attend the meeting and speak on their own behalf, for example by allowing them to bring a friend along.

Where a governing body is required to consider an exclusion the interests and circumstances of the excluded pupil must be considered, including the circumstances in which the pupil was excluded. Governors must also have regard to the interests of pupils and staff at the school and to their own obligations under the statutory guidance in reaching a decision.

When establishing the facts governors must apply the civil standard of proof that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ it is more likely than not that a fact is true. Where a claim of discrimination is made by parents, governors will also need to have regard to wider legal duties under the Equity Act 2010 in reaching their decision. Based upon their findings, governors may uphold an exclusion or direct reinstatement.

If the parent indicates that they do not wish their child to return to the excluding school, governors’ must still formally consider whether the pupil should be reinstated and record their findings, placing a copy upon the pupil’s record for future reference.

The governing body is required to formally write to the parties to confirm their decision. The letter, usually prepared by the clerk to the governors, should contain sufficient detail to explain the basis of the decision so that parents understand how the decision was reached. Governors’ should also respond to any issues raised by parents in relation to disability or other types of discrimination which they feel may have impacted upon their child’s exclusion.

If reinstatement has not been offered, parents must be given notice of their right to request a review of the decision by an independent review panel, including the date by which any request must be submitted and to whom an application should be made.

If applied for by parents within the legal time frame the local authority, or in the case of an academy the academy trust, must arrange at their own expense for an independent review panel hearing to review the decision not to offer reinstatement. Parents may still apply for a review even if they did not attend the original governors meeting.

If a review is requested by parents, a governor representative from the sub-committee will be required to attend the independent review panel to present information about how the decision was reached and to answer any questions from panel members and other parties attending the review.

One of three decisions may be reached by the independent review panel. The original decision may be upheld, the independent review panel may recommend that the governing body reconsiders reinstatement or the review panel can quash the decision and direct that the governing body reconsiders reinstatement.

A summary of the duties placed upon a governing body to review an exclusion decision can be located in Annex A of the Department for Education statutory guidance .

Information for Head teachers

Information on school exclusions for senior leadership in maintained schools, academy schools and pupil referral units. This guidance does not apply to 14-16 provision within colleges of further education.

A decision to exclude a pupil may only be taken by the head teacher of the school and must be upon the grounds of behaviour.

There is a legal process that must be followed when issuing an exclusion. For further advice and guidance please read the Statutory Guidance on School Exclusion published by the Department of Education on GOV.UK – School exclusion .

Fixed period exclusions

A pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods up to a maximum of 45 school days in an academic year.

Lunchtime exclusions

When a pupil’s behaviour is causing concern at lunchtime, a lunchtime exclusion may be issued. Lunchtime exclusion should be used for a short period of time only, until support strategies can be implemented. If a pupil is excluded over a lunchtime period and is entitled to receive a free school meal, then arrangements must be made for the pupil to receive their entitlement before they leave the school site. For the purpose of recording, a lunchtime exclusion will count as one half day.

Permanent exclusion

For a more serious incident or where there have been persistent breaches of the Behaviour Policy, a permanent exclusion may be issued.

Unofficial exclusions

Unofficial exclusions, for example sending a pupil home to cool off, are unlawful regardless of whether parents agree.  It is also unlawful to exclude for a non-disciplinary reason, for example the actions of a pupil’s parents.

If a pupil is sent home for a reason related to their behaviour then the formal exclusion process must be followed by law.

Whilst an initial phone call may be made to parents’ to advise them of their child’s exclusion, in all cases of exclusion a written notification must be issued by the headteacher. This is a legal requirement as set out in section 4 of the guidance.

Information provided must include the dates and reason for the exclusion together with the parents right to make representations to the governing body about their child’s exclusion.

For pupils of statutory age, the head teacher should also inform parents’ of the dates upon which their child should not be present in a public place during school hours, or they could receive a fixed penalty from the local authority.

During a fixed period exclusion work should be set for the pupil to complete at home and should be returned for marking. If the duration of a fixed period exclusion is more than five school days, there is a duty placed upon the head teacher to arrange day six provision. Information should be included within the exclusion notification letter explaining to parents’ the arrangements in place for the pupil to continue their education whilst excluded.

Letter templates

Permanent exclusion (Word, 17KB)

Fifteen or more school days (Word, 17KB)

Up to fifteen school days (Word, 17KB)

Up to five school days (Word, 16KB)

Up to five school days, but more than 5 in a term (Word, 16KB)

Up to five school days, but more than 15 in a term Model letter (Word, 17KB)

The governing body is required to meet in the following circumstances:

  • In all cases of permanent exclusion – To consider the reinstatement of the excluded pupil within fifteen school days. Parents are entitled to attend the meeting, make representations, and be represented or accompanied by a friend.
  • When a pupil has reached fifteen or more school days in fixed period exclusions in one term – To record their findings. Parents are entitled to attend the meeting, make representations, and be represented or accompanied by a friend.
  • Where a pupil would miss a national test or public examination during a period of exclusion – Governors are required to meet to consider whether the pupil will be permitted on site to complete their examination. This meeting must take place even if the Head has already made special arrangements to enable the pupil to access the exam. Parents are entitled to attend the meeting, make representations, and be represented or accompanied by a friend.

The governing body may discharge its duties through a committee with a minimum of three members which has delegated powers.

In all cases of permanent exclusion there is a legal requirement for the head teacher of the excluding school to notify the governing body and the local authority. Where the pupil resides in a different authority, there is also a duty to notify the home authority. For the first five days of a permanent exclusion, there is a duty for the school to provide work for the pupil to complete at home.

Exclusions must only be issued upon the grounds of behaviour, and not to allow an investigation to take place. However, if during a period of exclusions, additional evidence is revealed and the Head feels that the initial length of fixed period exclusion was not sufficient then an additional period of exclusion or a permanent exclusion can be issued. Schools must arrange suitable, alternative education for students who are excluded for more than 5 consecutive days. From the sixth day of a permanent exclusion the home authority, the authority where the pupil lives, is legally responsible for arranging a provision to provide education until the governing body has met to consider the exclusion.

The Clerk to the Governors will arrange a meeting of the Pupil Discipline Committee and invite the head teacher and parents. Where possible, papers must be circulated five clear school days before the meeting. It is good practice to circulate documents in advance of the meeting to enable all parties time to read and consider the information. Failure to disclose information may lead to legal challenge.

Procedure for governors meeting – permanent exclusion (Word, 28KB)

Following consideration of the case, if reinstatement is declined by governors parents have a further fifteen school days from the date notification of the decision is received, in which to request an independent review. If requested by parents in the case of a maintained school this will be arranged by the local authority however in the case of an academy the duty rests with the academy trust. The pupil must remain on the school roll until the legal process has completed.

When marking the register for an excluded pupil code ‘E’ will apply. This should be used to cover the inclusive dates of the exclusion.

Further information on marking the register can be obtained from the designated Education Welfare Officer.

Once the legal process has completed, the local authority exclusion officer will contact the excluding school to confirm the date upon which the pupil can be removed from roll.

After this time, the home Authority will contact parents’ to discuss and plan for the pupil’s education going forward. During this process, further information may be sought from the excluding school if required.

School records should be retained until such a time as the pupil joins a new school when records will need to be transferred.

Head teachers are required to send exclusion data to the local authority where the school is located.

Within North East Lincolnshire, copies of all exclusion notification letters should be sent to the Exclusions Officer via move-it. These will then be entered upon pupil records at the Authority.

Contact details

Exclusions Officer, Civic Offices, Knoll Street, Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35 8LN

Telephone: 01472 324105

Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm (term time only)