A school exclusion is when a child is removed from school, either temporarily (fixed exclusion or suspension) or on a permanent basis. If a child is excluded on a fixed term basis, they will return to the school. If a child is excluded permanently, they will not return to that school, unless the decision to exclude is overturned.
Fixed or permanent exclusions take place when a child or young person has demonstrated persistent disruptive behaviour or for serious one-off episode.
Students with SEND may be excluded at the head teacher’s discretion. However, if a child’s disruptive behaviour is a result of their special educational needs, the school must first find and deal with the underlying issue. They could provide pastoral assistance, request advice from other professionals such as educational psychologists or occupational health teams or request an emergency Annual review of the EHCP.
A child who has been excluded from a school is not permitted to attend classes, events, or extracurricular activities for the period of the exclusion (fixed exclusion) or permanently (permanent exclusion).
Exclusions must be “lawful, reasonable and fair” and a school cannot exclude a pupil because their special educational needs cannot be met at school or for low attainment.
From September 2022, the UK Government refers to exclusions as suspensions, so you may see both terms used in your child’s paperwork.
All mainstream schools will need to follow government guidance on exclusions which can be found here: government guidance suspensions and permanent exclusions. The guidance is for use in local-authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools and pupil referral units. Independent schools will have their own set out policies and procedures relating to exclusions. Schools are required to set out their behaviour policy.