Statutory guidance

School exclusion

Statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils from local-authority-maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units.



This guidance details the legal responsibilities for those who exclude students from educational settings, including:

  • headteachers
  • local authorities
  • governing bodies
  • academy trusts
  • independent review panel members
  • independent review panel clerks
  • special educational needs experts

It governs the exclusion of pupils from:

  • local-authority-maintained schools
  • academies and free schools
  • pupil referral units

The additional guidance on changes to the school exclusion process during the coronavirus outbreak should be used alongside the main guidance.

Statutory guidance sets out what schools and local authorities must do to comply with the law. You should follow the guidance unless you have a very good reason not to.

It would be helpful to read this guidance alongside:

Published 20 June 2012
Last updated 28 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated the guidance on changes to the school exclusion process during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including changes to the exclusions process from 25 September 2020, clarification on the conditions for virtual governing boards and review panels and procedural guidance on virtual meetings.

  2. Added guidance on changes to school exclusions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  3. Updated the exclusion review process and included non-statutory annexes for headteachers and parents. The changes are factual and aim to provide clarity. They do not change the rights of, or requirements on, schools, children or parents. For use from 1 September 2017.

  4. Added further clarification for anybody reviewing exclusion decisions taken between 5 January and 1 February 2015.

  5. The School Reform Minister Nick Gibb has removed the current guidance to address some issues with process and we will be issuing updated guidance in due course.

  6. Added the document 'Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England: from 5 January 2015'.

  7. First published.