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.

Does this guidance apply to Academies?

This guidance applies to all maintained schools, including sixth forms which are part of a maintained school, and Pupil Referral Units. Academies must also have regard to this guidance and their procedures should not depart significantly from this guidance without good reason.

How soon must the head contact parents?

A school must contact parents and provide details of a period of exclusion and the reasons for it, without delay and by the end of the afternoon session. This is likely to be by the quickest route, for example a telephone call. The school must follow this up with the information in writing (Para 24 – 26 of statutory guidance).

Who is authorised to exclude a pupil from school?

Only a head teacher can authorise a pupil’s exclusion. Wherever practical a head teacher should give pupils the opportunity to present their case before taking the decision to exclude.

Does a school have to send a letter through the post?

No, the required information must be provided in writing and can either be delivered directly to the parent/s, left at the last known address, or by posting it to this address (Para 26 of the statutory guidance).

What provision should be made if the parents of an excluded pupil do not have a good understanding of English?

The school or local authority should arrange for an interpreter to be present at any meetings about the exclusion and documentation relating to the exclusion should be translated into their mother tongue.

What is a reasonable period of time for fixed term exclusion?

Fixed term exclusions should be for the shortest time only, bearing in mind that exclusions of more than a day or two make it more difficult for the pupil to reintegrate into the school afterwards. Ofsted inspection evidence suggests that 1 - 3 days are often long enough to secure the benefits of exclusion without adverse educational consequences.

What is an unofficial exclusion?

Unofficial or informal exclusions are illegal, regardless of whether they are done with the agreement of parents or carers. (See para 3.13 of the statutory guidance). An unofficial exclusion is when parents are asked to take their child home following an incident in school. If parents are asked to take their child home this must be treated as an exclusion and recorded as such

Who is responsible for arranging educational provision after the fifth day of any period of exclusion?

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 judgement 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.

Can parents/carers appeal the decision to exclude?

a) Parents/carers can request that the Governing Body meet to consider their representation. If the exclusion takes the total number of days of exclusion above 5 days for the term and parents have requested the Governing Body to meet, they must do so within 50 school days of receiving notice of exclusion (para. 52 of the statutory guidance).

b) If a child has been excluded for more than 15 days in one term, the Governing Body must meet to consider reinstatement within 15 school days of receiving the notice of the exclusion. (See para 50 of the statutory guidance)

c) If a child receives a permanent exclusion the Governing Body must meet to consider reinstatement within 15 school days of receiving the notice of the exclusion. (see para. 50 of the statutory guidance)

How do I organise an Independent Review Panel?

For Milton Keynes maintained schools contact the Children Missing Education Team, Education, Sufficiency and Access. Telephone: 01908 253338 or email

For academies the Academy Trust must organise their own Independent Review Panel. (See paras 8 and 9 of statutory guidance)