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What is exclusion?

For disruptive or violent pupils, exclusion is a school's most powerful disciplinary tool. It is the most serious punishment available to head teachers to tackle unruly students and may be for a fixed period, a number of fixed periods, in extreme cases, permanent.

Decisions on exclusions from schools are made solely by head teachers, acting in line with the Department for Education guidelines and in accordance with the Education (Pupil Exclusions and Appeals)(Maintained Schools)(England) Regulations 2002, as amended, made under the 2002 Education Act.

The guidance clearly states that the removal of a pupil from the school environment should be used only as a last resort in response to 'serious breaches' of a school's behaviour policy or to safeguard the welfare and education of other pupils.

As such, permanent exclusion should be the final and most serious step taken in a schools' own disciplinary process. It may follow several fixed period exclusions (these cannot total more than 45 days in a school year) and other in-school measures, including separate teaching, consultation with parents, behaviour contracts or a "managed move" to another school.

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