Behaviour in schools: sanctions and exclusions

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Searches for banned items

The school may search your child if they think your child has any banned items.

The member of staff should always try to get your child’s cooperation before searching them. If your child does not cooperate, the staff member may still search them if there’s a risk of serious harm.

Banned items include:

  • weapons
  • alcohol
  • illegal drugs
  • stolen goods
  • tobacco products
  • pornographic images
  • fireworks
  • anything that has been, or is likely to be, used to cause injury or commit an offence
  • anything banned in the school rules

Searches must always be carried out by someone of the same sex as your child. A witness should also be present unless there’s a risk of serious harm if the search is not carried out urgently.

The search witness must also be the same sex as your child if possible. Your child must not be asked to remove clothes, other than outer clothing like a coat.

Metal detectors

Schools can make pupils go through a metal detector - they do not have to suspect that your child has a weapon. If your child refuses to go through the metal detector, they may be searched by a member of staff.

Informing parents

Parents should always be told about any search for a banned item and the outcome - including any sanctions.

When an item can be confiscated

A member of staff can confiscate an item if:

  • it’s banned
  • it poses a risk to any person
  • it’s considered to be evidence relating to an offence

School staff may also confiscate items as a sanction.

If you’re unhappy with a search on your child at school, talk to the headteacher. If you’re not satisfied, ask for a copy of the complaints procedure.