Exclusion of pupils

Reasons for a pupil being excluded from school

A pupil may be excluded if the headteacher of the school feels it's necessary to discipline the pupil for his or her behaviour in school. This may be for a serious one-off incident or a series of incidents.

In making the decision to exclude, head teachers will look at all the evidence available to them at the time and make their decisions based on the ‘balance of probabilities’.

This means that they will look at all the evidence and decide whether it is more likely than not that the pupil did what he or she is accused of doing. If so, they will make the decision to exclude.

Headteachers' can exclude for incidents that take place going to and from school even if a pupil is involved in an incident outside school hours and still wearing school uniform.

Examples of acceptable reasons to exclude:

  • violent or threatening behaviour towards a member of staff or another pupil
  • damage or threat of damage to school property
  • sexual misconduct
  • racist behaviour
  • bullying
  • drug or alcohol related incidents
  • carrying an offensive weapon

Examples of unacceptable reasons to exclude:

  • not doing homework
  • breaking school rules on appearance or uniform (except when persistent or openly defiant)
  • poor academic performance
  • poor attendance or lateness
  • pregnancy

What it means to be excluded from school

Exclusion means that the pupil cannot be in or near the school grounds for the period of time stated in the exclusion letter. During this period, if the pupil is seen in a public place during school hours the parents or carers may be subject to a fixed penalty notice.

There's two types of exclusion from school, fixed-term exclusion and permanent exclusion.

Fixed-term exclusions

This means that the pupil has been excluded from school for a fixed period of time. A pupil cannot be given fixed-term exclusions which total more than 45 days in one school year.

The parents or carers should receive a letter from the school within one school day stating:

  • the reason for the exclusion
  • the dates and total number of days of the exclusion
  • the date of the re-integration meeting

It is important for the parents or carers and pupil to attend the re-integration meeting as this will give them both an opportunity to discuss the incident and highlight any concerns they may have.

Recording of fixed-term exclusions on the pupil’s school record

The exclusion letter will be included in the pupil’s school record. However, parents or carers have the right to appeal to the school's governing body if they do not agree with their child’s exclusion. The governing body's decision letter will be placed in the pupil’s school record.

How parents or carers can appeal to the school's governing body

Parents or carers must write to the chair of the Governors' Discipline Committee (GDC) expressing their concerns and asking for a review of the head teacher’s decision to exclude their child.

The letter should be addressed to the school and will be passed on to the chair of the GDC. If the exclusion is over 15 school days or an accumulation of 15 school days in one school term, the GDC will meet automatically to review the exclusion.

Parents or carers will be invited to this meeting and can make representation to the panel. It is unusual for GDC to be able to reinstate the pupil, as the exclusion has usually passed and the pupil is back in school by the time the GDC meets. The decision letter will be placed in the pupil’s school record.

Permanent exclusion

This is when the headteacher has taken the decision that the pupil should be removed from the school permanently. The GDC will be required to meet within 15 school days to review the decision. It is the parents or carers right to attend this meeting and make representations to the GDC.

If the GDC upholds the Headteacher’s decision to permanently exclude the pupil, the parents or carers also have the right to make to an independent appeal. The exclusions officer will write to the parents or carers giving them all the information they need.

The Independent Appeal Panel is set up by the local authority. This panel is independent of the school and will review the decision made by the GDC.

How a child is educated during a period of exclusion

During the first five days, school staff must set and mark work for the excluded child. The headteacher will make arrangements for the work to be collected and returned to the school.

From the sixth day onwards, the local authority where the child lives must provide full-time education (regardless of the outcome of the governors’ hearing). If the child is registered at a school in another borough, it is the duty of local authority where the child attends school to notify the local authority where the child lives.

For further advice and support contact Barnet's Exclusions Officer Jane Morris