Behaviour in schools: sanctions and exclusions

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Challenging exclusion

You’ll get a letter from the school telling you what to do if you disagree with the exclusion.

You can ask the school’s governing board to overturn the exclusion if either:

  • your child has been excluded for more than 5 days
  • the exclusion means they’ll miss a public exam or national curriculum test

If the exclusion is for 5 days or fewer, you can still ask the governors to hear your views but they cannot overturn the headteacher’s decision.

Challenging permanent exclusion

You’ll be invited to a review meeting with the school’s governors if your child has been permanently excluded. This will happen within 15 school days.

If the governors do not overturn the exclusion, you can ask for an independent review by your local council (or academy trust if the school’s an academy). The governors must tell you how to do this.

You can ask for a special educational needs (SEN) expert to attend if your child has SEN or you suspect they have SEN. You should include this in your application for an independent review.

If your child is still excluded you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman (or the Department for Education if the school’s an academy or free school) to look at whether your case was handled properly. They cannot overturn the exclusion.

Discrimination and other complaints

You can make a claim to a court or a tribunal if you think your child’s been discriminated against. You need to do this within 6 months of the exclusion.

You can make a claim to a first-tier tribunal if you believe your child’s been discriminated against because of a disability.

Contact the Equality Advisory Support Service for help and advice.

For more general complaints (for example, if you do not want to challenge the exclusion but you’re not happy with the way the school handled it), follow the normal school complaints process.