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School exclusion - what you need to know

When a child is excluded from school, it can be a very anxious time for parents. It is useful to know the process that should be followed by the school's head teacher, the school goveners and the parent.

The following information is provided by Nottingham City Council. You can download the full information booklet here.

To exclude a child permanently is a very serious decision and should only be used as a last resort.

Your child should only be excluded from school:-

· if they seriously or persistently breach the school’s behaviour policy, and

· it would seriously harm the education or welfare of themselves or others in the school if they remained in school.

The Head Teacher / Principal is the only person who can make the decision to exclude your child. (If the Head Teacher / Principal is absent the Deputy Head Teacher or most senior teacher who is acting as Head can exclude your child.)

Ideally, the Head Teacher should telephone you immediately to inform you that your child is being excluded, followed by a letter within one school day. The letter must inform you that your child has been permanently excluded and the reasons for the exclusion.

A Head Teacher cannot exclude a pupil from school on an informal basis, such as:

· Sending a child home until they comply with requirements;

· Encouraging parents to voluntarily withdraw their child from school;

· Advising parents to keep their child at home for a period of time;

· Placing undue pressure on parents to keep their child at home whilst seeking a transfer of school, to avoid formal exclusion.

All of the above amount to an exclusion and the appropriate formal procedure must be followed.

This decision must then be reviewed by the governing body. They decide whether or not your child can return to the school and you will be invited to attend the meeting.

What happens next?

You have a duty to ensure that your child is not found in a public place during the first 5 days of exclusion unless there is a reasonable justification for this. This requirement applies regardless of whether or not your child is in the company of a parent / carer. If your child is found in a public place during normal school hours whilst excluded, without reasonable justification, you may receive a fixed penalty notice from the Local Authority or face prosecution.

Your child may also be removed from the public place by the police and taken to designated premises.

The school must provide work for your child during the first 5 days of the exclusion. The school will give you the name of the teacher who is providing the work and the arrangements for marking the work. You should ensure that the work is returned for marking and advise the school if your child needs more work. From the 6th day of exclusion onwards the Local Authority will provide suitable supervised full-time education.

A representative from one of the Local Authority’s Learning Centre’s will invite you to a separate meeting to discuss educational provision whilst your child is not in school. This meeting may take place before the governors have met to consider the Head Teacher’s decision. The meeting is not linked in any way to the Governor’s decision, and is set up as soon as possible after the Local Authority is notified about the exclusion. This is to ensure your child is not without education provision.

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