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About Exclusions

Schools have a legal duty under the Equality Act 2010/DDA not to discriminate against disabled pupils by excluding them from school because of behaviour which is related to their disability. Schools must make reasonable adjustments to policies and practices so that a disabled pupil can participate in education at school and are not disadvantaged because of their disability.

What do we mean by being excluded?

Only a head teacher can exclude a pupil and must tell the pupil’s parent or carer, in writing, how long the exclusion is for and the reasons for it. (For permanent exclusions or longer fixed term exclusions the school governing body will also consider the head teacher’s decision to exclude). While they are excluded the pupil is not allowed to attend their school, enter the school grounds or use school transport services.

It is important that pupils continue to have access to learning during their exclusion so that they continue to make progress and achieve.  Schools should provide work for the first 5 school days of any exclusion. Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring that their children are supervised during school hours on these days and complete the work which has been set. This will ensure that they will have the best chance to keep up with their learning and be less at risk of becoming involved in anti-social activities. From the sixth day the school or Pupil Referral Unit must inform the parent or carer what arrangements have been made for full time supervised education until the end of the exclusion period.

Types of exclusions


A head teacher can suspend a pupil for a short period of time if they have seriously broken school rules and if allowing the pupil to stay in school would seriously harm their education or welfare, or the education or welfare of other pupils. After a fixed period, suspended pupils will return to their school.

Permanent Exclusions

Head teachers only permanently exclude a pupil as a last resort after considering the individual circumstances with other staff and professionals as appropriate. If the pupil is a Looked After Child (LAC) or has a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) there should be a review of the pupil’s education plan as part of this process. There may be exceptional circumstances where a head teacher may decide to permanently exclude for a serious ‘one-off’ offence.

If a pupil has been permanently excluded, they do not return to their school and will receive their education from a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). The PRUs provide access to a balanced curriculum, small group teaching, specialist assessment and reintegration support to ensure that, wherever possible, pupils return quickly to mainstream schools. For some pupils the PRU will continue to provide education for a longer period of time. Pupils attending PRUs will be able to sit national tests such as SATs, GCSEs and other qualifications.

Appealing a decision to exclude

Parents may appeal against a school’s decision to exclude. Information on how to appeal will be included in the exclusion letter sent out to parents. Further information on how to appeal may be available from the organisations listed below.

Exclusion advice and guidance

The Department for Education (DfE) - provide guidance “Suspension and Permanent Exclusions from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England including pupil movement: September 2023”.

Advice for Parents of Pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) - parents of pupils with SEN who are excluded from school may need advice on the options available for their child's future education. SENDIASS provides support, advice and information to these families. Parent Confidential Helpline: 0161 209 8356 (Monday to Friday, 10am - 3pm, 24 hour call back service).

The Children's Legal Centre - provides free legal advice and information to parents on state education matters. Tel 0808 802 0008 (Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm , except Bank Holidays, 24 December - 1 January).

Contact details for exclusions

The School Attendance and Exclusions Team can provide help on matters related to exclusions from schools.