School exclusions

Wakefield school exclusion team

This is the local authority’s team that advises on exclusions from school.

Their exclusion helpline is 01924 307319 or email:

Please ring them for impartial advice on anything to do with your child’s exclusion.

What is their role?

  • to make sure that the government’s exclusion guidance is followed to minimise disruption to a pupil’s education
  • to advise school staff, parents or carers, governors and professionals and others seeking support on the exclusion process
  • to support schools to use alternatives to exclusion, such as a managed move, pastoral support plan (psp), phased reintegration/partial-timetables and referrals to other supporting services where appropriate
  • to provide training to all involved in the exclusion process
  • to support clerks to the governing board
  • to monitor all exclusions from maintained schools and academies, and produce data for reporting purposes to the government

The government’s official guide about exclusions can be found at

Annex b is a useful guide for heads and principals

Annex c is a useful guide for parents

Exclusion is a very serious step and not one to be taken lightly. Only the head or academy principal has the power to exclude a pupil. Exclusion can only be given when:

  • a pupil breaks the school or academy’s behaviour code (the school rules) - and
  • it would seriously harm the education or welfare of themselves or others if they stayed in the school. Pupils cannot be excluded for more than 45 days each school year. Before deciding to exclude, a pupil should give their views about what has happened.

When your child is excluded and the total days for the term are more than 15 or the exclusion is permanent, the school exclusion team will send you a booklet of information through the post.

There are two types of exclusion: fixed-period and permanent

Fixed-period exclusion

Lasts for a number of days and means a pupil cannot be on school site or out in a public place unless there is a good reason otherwise parents can be given a penalty notice or in some instances face prosecution.

At the end of the exclusion, the pupil returns to school.

Parents/carers are sent a letter usually after school has rung them to tell them about the exclusion.

Permanent exclusion

Is given for very serious reasons and means a pupil cannot return to the school unless the governors decide to let them come back by reinstating the pupil back into school.

This happens after a formal meeting where the exclusion is discussed. Parents have a right to attend this meeting

Before deciding to exclude

The head/academy principal should: carry out an appropriate investigation; give the pupil a chance to say what happened; think carefully about the evidence available; follow the government’s exclusion guidance 2017; where necessary, consult others.

The government’s exclusion guidance 2017 says that the head can exclude if they feel that it is more likely than not that the pupil has done what they are accused of and where other strategies are not appropriate.

Alternatives to exclusion

Schools and academies should have lots of different strategies in place to help pupils manage their behaviour and stay in school without being excluded.

Parents may be asked in to school to discuss how best to support their child. It is good practice for parents to be involved and consulted.

Unofficial or illegal exclusions

It is never legal for any school to send a pupil home to ‘cool off’ even when parents have agreed. All sending home for misbehaviour must be recorded as an official and legal exclusion.

Informing parents of an exclusion

Schools must tell parents of an exclusion. Usually this is by telephone first then by letter.

If no letter arrives, parents must ring school to ask if the exclusion is official.

What about a pupil’s education?

For the first 5 days of an exclusion the school should take reasonable steps to set and mark work for pupils. From the 6th day of a fixed-period exclusion the school must provide alternative fulltime education.

For a permanent exclusion, the local authority will put in place education from the 6th day. Staff will contact you to arrange a visit.

Parent’s rights

Parents always have the right to challenge an exclusion. If a parent is unhappy about an exclusion their child has received, they should first try talking to the school direct.

Parents also have the right to put their case in writing and also in person to the school or academy governing board.

Details of who to contact will be in the letter the school sends home telling the parent about the exclusion

When governors must meet

Governors must meet when: the number of day’s exclusion in one term goes over 15 or a pupil will miss a public exam, or when the exclusion is permanent.

The governor’s clerk will contact parents to agree a time and date for the meeting so they can attend.

Why is there a governor’s meeting?

The governors will decide if the exclusion was the right action to take. They hear all the evidence about the exclusion and the reasons why the head decided to exclude

For a permanent exclusion why is there a governors meeting?

The governors will decide if the permanent exclusion was the right action to take. They hear all the evidence about the exclusion and the reasons why the head decided to exclude.

Parents are always invited to attend, to put forward their case about the exclusion which governors must take into account before making their decision.

If governors agree that the permanent exclusion was the right decision, then the pupil stays at the local authority provision, usually a pupil referral unit (pru).

If parents are unhappy with this decision, they can apply for an independent review. Details about this will be in the letter sent by the local authority.

Who will be at the meeting?

At least 3 governors (none should have an involvement which may make them biased); a clerk to take notes and advise the governors on exclusion law; the head to put their case; parent, their support (family or friend), and excluded child if they want to; the local authority officer (if the parents have requested this for academies)

How will the meeting be run?

The meeting will be held in a suitable place in school so everyone is comfortable. Before and after the meeting, governors must always be on their own or with the clerk.

No-one else should be with them. Everyone will be given enough time to speak

What will happen at the meeting?

The chair of the governing board who will lead the meeting and explain the order to be followed. First, the head puts their case. When finished, governors and parents can respond.

Then the parents put their case. When finished, governors and school can respond. Then the local authority officer may be asked to respond to the school and/or the parents and may comment about other similar exclusions across the district.

Once everyone has had enough time to speak, the governors will be left alone to discuss all the evidence and make their decision. The clerk stays with them to help with the wording in the decision letter.

What can governors decide?

They can decide the exclusion was: the appropriate decision and it stays on the pupil’s record, or the wrong decision and note this on the pupil’s record.

If this is a permanent exclusion, the pupil will then return to the school.

What if this is a permanent exclusion meeting?

If governors agree that the permanent exclusion was the right decision, then the pupil stays at the pupil referral unit (pru).

If parents are unhappy with this decision, they can apply for an independent review.

What is an independent review?

This is where 3 people not connected with the school look at the whole case again.

How to apply will be in the letter the governors and the local authority send parents after the governors meeting.

Even if parents did not attend the governors meeting, they can still apply for an independent review