School Exclusions

The schools exclusion guidance should be read in conjunction with the DfE Guidance on Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England 

Guidance for schools about how to use the exclusion portal can be found here.

What type of schools does this guidance apply to?

This guidance applies to all maintained schools, (including special schools, pupil referral units, academy schools which includes free schools, special schools, and alternative provision academies).

Who is authorised to suspend or permanently exclude a pupil from school?

A headteacher of a maintained school, the teacher in charge at a PRU and the principal of an academy. 

How soon must the headteacher contact parents?

Schools must, without delay, notify parents of the period of the suspension or permanent exclusion and the reason(s) for it.  The school must also, without delay, provide parents with the information in writing

How soon must the headteacher notify the local authority of a suspension or a permanent exclusion?

A headteacher must notify the local authority without delay of all exclusions regardless of the length of the exclusion. If the pupil has a social worker, or if a pupil is looked-after, the headteacher must also, without delay, notify the social worker and/or virtual school team

Can the headteacher cancel any exclusion that has already begun or is yet to begin?

The headteacher can cancel any exclusion before the governing body has met to consider whether the pupil should be reinstated

What is an informal or unofficial exclusion?

An informal or unofficial exclusion, such as sending a pupil home ‘to cool off’, is unlawful when it does not follow the formal school exclusion process, regardless of whether it is done with the agreement of parents or carers

Who is responsible for arranging educational provision during a suspension?

Headteachers should take steps to ensure that work is set and marked for pupils during the first five school days of a suspension.  This can include utilising any online pathways such as Google Classroom or Oak National Academy. For a fixed period of more than 5 days the governing body (or local authority, in respect of a PRU) must arrange suitable full-time education on Day 6.  If a pupil is permanently excluded the responsibility for full time education from Day 6 falls to the Local Authority

Are there any breaches of school rules for which an exclusion is not appropriate?

An exclusion must be on disciplinary grounds. The behaviour of pupils outside school can be considered as grounds for exclusion.  This will be a matter of judgment for the head teacher in accordance with the school’s published behaviour policy.  It is unlawful to exclude for a non-disciplinary reason, for example because a pupil has additional needs that the school feels it is unable to meet.

How do I organise an Independent Review Panel?

For maintained schools please email the Children Missing Education team, Access to Education, Employment and Training:              

For academies the Academy Trust must organise their own Independent Review Panel.