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Exclusion of pupils


This page gives you information about the instances when the exclusion of a pupil from school is appropriate, and the procedures the school must follow.

Exclusion is one sanction which a headteacher may use in response to serious breaches of school discipline. There are two types of exclusion: fixed term and permanent.

A headteacher can also exclude a pupil for lunch-time sessions. If your child is entitled to free school meals, the school should make arrangements to provide a meal or packed lunch. However, this would not apply if your child is excluded for either a fixed term, or permanently.

Fixed term exclusion

The maximum number of days that a pupil can be excluded for a fixed term is 45 days in any one academic year.

The headteacher should inform you in writing of the exclusion and the reason for it.

The headteacher must arrange a reintegration interview with you during, or following, the expiry of any fixed term exclusion of a primary aged pupil. For secondary school pupils, the headteacher should arrange an interview with you following the exclusion of the pupil for more than five school days. For exclusions up to five consecutive days, work should be set and marked by the school. During this period you must ensure that your child is not found in a public place during normal school hours without reasonable justification. You may be subject to a fixed penalty notice fine if you fail to do this.

Where a pupil is given a fixed term exclusion for six days or longer, the school must arrange suitable full time education from and including, the sixth school day of the exclusion.

The exclusion stops on the day stated in the letter. The number of days stated refers to school days and does not, therefore, include weekends or holidays.

The head teacher could decide to extend the exclusion but must inform you of the decision, the reason for it and your right to further representation.

What rights do you have?

You have the right to make written and oral representations to the governing body of the school. A meeting of the school's discipline committee may be arranged to discuss the exclusion and you would be invited to attend.

If you wish, you may take someone of your choice to the governing body meeting.

In some cases your child may already be back in school when you meet the governors, but the meeting will give you the opportunity to discuss the matter further.

You have the right to see your child's curricular records, for example test and exam results on application to the headteacher. You can see your child's other educational records, school file, including behaviour and attendance, on request to the governing body.

Permanent exclusion

Permanent exclusion from school is a sanction which headteachers may use. Permanent exclusions are used if serious breaches of a school's discipline policy occurs, and if allowing the pupil to remain in the school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or of others in the school. In most cases a range of alternative strategies should have been tried.

The headteacher should notify you immediately about the exclusion. The letter should explain:

  • the reason for the exclusion and the steps taken to try to avoid exclusion
  • the arrangements for enabling your child to continue their education, including providing suitable full time education from the sixth day of the exclusion and your right to state your case to the governing body's discipline committee
  • who to contact if you wish to state your case (usually the clerk to the committee)
  • the latest date you can put a written statement to the discipline committee
  • your right to see your child's school record
  • details about providing suitable full time education from the sixth day of the exclusion
  • the name and telephone number of a contact at Durham County Council who can provide advice on the exclusions process and the telephone number for the Children's Legal Centre (0845 345 4345)

The pupil remains on the roll of the school until the exclusion procedures have been completed.  It is the responsibility of the school during the first five days of a permanent exclusion to ensure that work is sent home for the pupil to complete.  During these initial five days of exclusion, parents must ensure that their children are not found in a public place during normal school hours without reasonable justification.  Parents are subject to a fixed penalty notice fine if they fail to do this.

From the sixth day of the permanent exclusion the local authority is responsible for ensuring that suitable full time education is provided. 

This will be the pupil's home local authority in cases where the pupil lives in a different local authority from the school.

An education officer will arrange to visit you to discuss the exclusion and to offer any advice you may require. The school's governing body should arrange a meeting to which you will be invited within 6 to 15 school days of the notification of exclusion.

What rights do you have?

You can contact the Inclusion and Alternative Provision Coordinator for advice about the exclusion. If you wish, you may take someone of your choice to the discipline committee meeting. You have the right to see your child's curricular record, for example test and exam results, on application to the headteacher. You have the right to see your child's other educational records (school file) including behaviour and attendance on request to the governing body.

What happens at the discipline committee meeting?

The discipline committee will consider the exclusion and you will have the right to attend the meeting and make representations about the exclusion. You could also forward written representations to the clerk, before the meeting.

We may give our view on the appropriateness of the exclusion.

What happens if the discipline committee upholds the exclusion?

If the permanent exclusion is upheld, you have the right to make an appeal to an independent review panel. You should notify us of your intention to appeal against the decision within 15 school days of receiving notification of the decision.

The review panel cannot reinstate your child, but can recommend this to the governing body of the school where appropriate. You will have the opportunity to meet with our officers who will discuss a range of options for your child's education. For some secondary age pupils, we may decide that the pupil would benefit from a period of education at the pupil referral unit before returning to education at another school.

If the discipline committee decide that the exclusion was not warranted, they will reinstate your child. If however the exclusion is upheld, then your child will not be able to return to the school. In either case you will be informed by letter within one school day of the meeting.

Contact us
Inclusion and Alternative Provision Coordinator
03000 265 903
Our address is:
  • Children and Young People's Services
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ

School attendance (legal action enquiries)
03000 265 526/527
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