School discipline and exclusions

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School behaviour policy

Every school has a behaviour policy, which lists the rules of conduct for pupils before and after school as well as during the school day.

The policy should also say what the school does to prevent bullying.

You can ask the school for a copy of the policy document.


Schools can punish pupils if they behave badly.

Examples of punishments (sometimes called ‘sanctions’) include:

  • a telling-off
  • a letter home
  • removal from a class or group
  • confiscating something inappropriate for school , eg mobile phone or MP3 player
  • detention


Schools don’t have to give parents notice of after-school detentions or tell them why a detention has been given.

Physical contact

School staff can use reasonable force to control and restrain pupils. This could include leading a pupil by the arm into a classroom.

Complaining about a punishment

If you disagree with the way your child’s been punished, first talk to the headteacher. If you’re not satisfied, ask for a copy of the complaints procedure.