The head teacher of a school may decide to exclude a pupil for a variety of serious reasons. This decision is the sole responsibility of the head teacher.
Whenever a head teacher excludes a pupil he/she will contact you in writing, setting out the period of the exclusion, the reasons for the exclusion and the proposed date of readmission. There are two types of exclusion, fixed term and permanent:
- The head teacher has the power to exclude any pupil who has, in his view, committed a serious offence.
- A pupil may be excluded for up to a maximum of 45 days in any academic year. In most instances a first exclusion is not likely to be more than 5 days unless the seriousness of the offence warrants it.
- If a pupil has received the maximum of 45 days exclusion in one year and then re-offends, the head teacher will have little choice but to permanently exclude.
You may wish to challenge a child's exclusion, making an oral or written representation to the governing body. To do this you should contact the head teacher within seven days of being notified of the exclusion. The governing body may meet to hear your representation and you will be invited to bring a ‘friend’ or representative for support.
In exceptional cases, head teachers may decide to permanently exclude a child from the school. In most instances the school will have previously implemented various strategies to support your child. A decision by the head teacher to permanently exclude will be followed by a meeting of the Discipline Committee of the governing body to either:
- reinstate the permanently excluded pupil
- confirm the head teacher’s decision to exclude.
You will be invited to this meeting and you will be invited to bring a ‘friend’ or someone you would like to speak for you. You should receive any relevant papers at least five days in advance of the meeting. You may wish to submit a written statement to the governing body, which must be sent at least 48 hours before the meeting.
If the governing body decides to confirm the decision of the head teacher you have the right to request an independent review of the case. You should do so as soon as possible after the decision of the governing body although you have up to 15 days to make a decision.
Any request for a review received after that time will not be considered.
You will be invited to attend a meeting of the Independent Review Committee. After considering your views, and the views of the governing body of the school the Committee will make a decision and inform you of it. This decision is final and binding on all parties.
If you consider that the manner in which the Independent Review Committee has dealt with the case and has been such as to amount to maladministration, which has caused you injustice, you can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Where a permanent exclusion is confirmed by a governing body and the Independent Review Committee, it is your duty to find your child an alternative school. Failure to actively pursue an alternative school placement could result in prosecution under Section 199 of the 1993 Education Act.
However, through what is clearly a difficult period for parents, the Exclusion Officer of Children Services will provide assistance in finding an alternative school.