Last updated:

12th July 2023


We offer support where children have been excluded when there is a special educational need involved.

Fixed term exclusions/at risk of permanent exclusion

We can help parents to discuss what additional support might be required to ensure their child’s needs are met in order to avoid the behaviours that might result in exclusion. 

Permanent exclusions

When a child is permanently excluded the governors will review the head teacher’s decision within 15 school days to ensure that it is fair. If the governors uphold the decision but you still don’t believe it is fair then you can have the decision independently reviewed. 

We can support you by:

  • Helping you to gather evidence for the meeting and to understand the evidence provided by the school.
  • Helping you to decide if there has been anything unfair about the exclusion.
  • Attending the meetings with you.

What must the school do if it excludes my child?

  • Only the head teacher of a school can exclude a pupil.
  • A pupil can be excluded for one or more fixed periods (up to a maximum of 45 days in an academic year) or permanently.
  • A fixed-period exclusion can be for part of the school day, e.g. for lunchtime. A lunchtime exclusion is counted as half a day.
  • A pupil can only be excluded for disciplinary reasons. It would be unlawful to exclude a pupil with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities because the school does not feel able to meet their needs.
  • The school’s behaviour policies must not discriminate against pupils with SEND (Special Educational Needs or Disabilities) by unfairly increasing their risk of exclusion.
  • The head teacher must notify the parents of the period of the exclusion and the reasons for it without delay. This must be confirmed in writing.
  • When establishing the facts surrounding an exclusion the head teacher must apply a civil standard of proof, i.e. on the balance of probabilities it is more likely to have happened than not.
  • Schools should consider whether there are any mitigating factors e.g. the child was bullied, has suffered a bereavement, has mental health issues.
  • Schools should take reasonable steps to set and mark work during the first 5 school days of an exclusion. Alternative provision must be arranged from the sixth school day. For permanent exclusions the local authority must arrange suitable full-time education to begin no later than the sixth school day.

During the first 5 days of an exclusion parents must ensure that their child is not in a public place during school hours. 

Informal exclusions

Informal or unofficial exclusions, e.g. sending a pupil home to cool off are unlawful, regardless of whether the parent agrees to them. All exclusions must be formally recorded.

What must the governors do?

Governors must be notified without delay and review the exclusion and consider reinstating the pupil within 15 school days of being notified if:

  • The exclusion is permanent
  • It is a fixed term exclusion but would bring the pupil’s total to more than 15 days that term
  • It would result in the pupil missing a public exam or national curriculum test

The governors must review exclusions for fixed term exclusions more than 5 days but less than 15 days in the term within 50 school days the if the parents make representations.  

The governors will be notified once per term of any other exclusions.

Read the statutory guidance around exclusions for full guidance on the law around exclusion.