Exclusion from school means that a child is not allowed in school for punishment (discipline) reasons. Head teachers can exclude your child if they misbehave inside or outside of the school.

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

There are 2 kinds of exclusion:
Fixed term  (suspended) and Permanent (expelled)

Fixed Term Exclusion

This is where your child is temporarily removed from the school. It can be for half a day, 3 days, or 2 weeks or in worse cases longer than that. Under a Fixed Term Exclusion the school can only  remove a child  for up to 45 school days in a year (September to July) even if the child has changed schools. Lunch time exclusions are counted as a half day exclusion. A fixed term exclusion can be extended and be turned into a Permanent Exclusion.

Permanent Exclusion

This is where a school decides to remove the child from the school roll and the child is not allowed to attend the school. The decision should only be taken when all of the following reasons are present:

  • In response to a serious breach, or persistent breach of school’s behaviour policy

  • When a range of different options have been tried and have failed

  • Where allowing the child to remain in the school would seriously harm the education or safety of pupils or others in school

Illegal Exclusions

There are no other types of exclusion.  If a child or a young person is sent off to ‘cool off’,  or you are informed that you must keep your child at home because the nursery/school are unable to cope and are unable to meet the child’s special needs or cope with a disability,  this is unlawful. These type of ‘off the book’ exclusions are known as informal or illegal exclusions. Schools are not allowed to do this and it is unlawful.

We Can Help

Westminster IASS can offer information and support on all aspects of exclusions to parents, carers of children with SEN and young people with SEN.

We will work with you and schools to try to prevent exclusions.

If your child has special educational needs or disability and you are worried about your child being excluded or is at risk of exclusion  from school, please do give us a call.

We can support you by:

  • Listening to your concerns

  • Explain what might happen and the procedures involved

  • Help you prepare for school meetings relating to exclusion

  • Support you at school meetings

You can find more full information about your rights when your child is excluded and what to do of your child is excluded and how to appeal against a school’s decision from the information links below.

Useful links:

The statutory  guidance on school exclusion that is currently being followed is the one published on 1st September 2012.


Please note the guidance published in 2015 has been withdrawn and should not be followed until further notice from the DFE


Mental Health Difficulties and Children at Risk of Exclusion from Schools in England

If you would like to receive telephone advice Communities Empowerment Network run a 24 hours hotline and will be able to provide you with support.