Headteachers can exclude your child (also called being ‘expelled’ or ‘suspended’) if they misbehave.
What happens when your child is excluded
Your child’s school will let you know about an exclusion as soon as possible and follow up with a letter including information about how long your child is excluded for and why.
You should also be told how to challenge the exclusion, if you want to.
Exclusions can start the same day but the school can’t make you collect your child straight away.
Risk of prosecution if child is found in public place
For the first 5 school days of an exclusion, it’s your responsibility to make sure your child isn’t in a public place during normal school hours unless there is a good reason.
You might be prosecuted if your child is found in a public place when they’re not supposed to be.
You can get get free legal advice if your child has been excluded.
Types of exclusion
There are 2 kinds of exclusion - fixed period (suspended) and permanent (expelled).
Fixed period exclusion
A fixed period exclusion is where your child is temporarily removed from school. They can only be removed for up to 45 school days in 1 school year.
If a child has been excluded for a fixed period, schools should set and mark work for the first 5 school days.
If the exclusion is longer than 5 school days, the school must arrange full-time education from the 6th school day.
Permanent exclusion means your child is expelled. The local council must arrange full-time education from the 6th school day.
Alternative education and exclusion
The school must tell you about any alternative education they or the local council arrange. It’s your responsibility to make sure your child attends.
Contact the school (for fixed period exclusions) or the local council (for permanent exclusions) if they haven’t arranged anything after 5 days, or if you have a complaint about the education.
You can complain to the Department for Education (DfE) if you’re not happy with their response.
The letter from school about the exclusion will tell you how to challenge the decision.
Challenging fixed period exclusion
You can challenge fixed period exclusions if a pupil has been excluded for more than 5 school days in a term or an exclusion will mean they will miss a public exam or national curriculum test. For exclusions of 5 school days or less, parents can ask the governing body to consider their views.
Challenging permanent exclusion
You can challenge permanent exclusion with the governing body. If they agree with the exclusion, you can appeal to the local council or the Academy Trust if the school is an academy. The governing body must tell you how to do this.
Discrimination and other complaints
For more general complaints (eg if you don’t want to challenge the exclusion but you’re not happy with the way the school handled it), follow the normal school complaints process.