Information about the two types of exclusions: fixed term exclusions and permanent exclusions.
Why we have exclusions
All pupils in a school benefit when behaviour is good. High standards of behaviour are important to help children feel safe and learn well. Parents and carers play an important part in this.
The government advises schools to focus on promoting positive behaviour, helping to build self-discipline and encouraging respect for others.
But schools also need sanctions to deter pupils from misbehaving. One of those sanctions is the use of exclusions. The headteacher is the only member of staff in a school who can decide to exclude a pupil from the premises.
Fixed term exclusions
All exclusions are issued on disciplinary grounds.
A fixed term exclusion excludes the pupil from the premises temporarily, and for no more than 45 school days in a single academic year.
These 45 days can be the result of multiple fixed term exclusions. The headteacher must write to the parent or carer to let them know the reason for the exclusion and the day that the pupil should return.
Good practice is to invite the parent or carer in with the pupil for a reintegration interview. Parent's or carer's failure to attend a reintegration interview is no reason to refuse the pupil's return to school.
For a fixed period exclusion of more than five school days, the governing body must arrange suitable full-time education for any pupil of compulsory school age. This provision must begin no later than the sixth day of the exclusion.
Parents can ask governors to look into reinstatement of the pupil following a fixed period exclusion of more than five days, but no more than 15 days in a single term. A consideration of reinstatement must be made within 50 school days of receiving notice of the exclusion.
A headteacher may decide to exclude a pupil for a fixed period, whilst investigating an incident, which might lead to a permanent exclusion. The headteacher should, when writing to the parent/carer, indicate that investigations are taking place and that these investigations may lead to permanent exclusion.
Fixed term exclusion of more than five consecutive days
A headteacher must, without delay, notify the governing body and the local authority of:
- a permanent exclusion (including where a fixed period exclusion is made permanent)
- exclusions which would result in the pupil being excluded for more than five school days (or more than ten lunchtimes) in a term
- exclusions which would result in the pupil missing a public examination or national curriculum test
A headteacher may decide to exclude permanently for one of the following reasons:
- in response to serious or persistent breaches of the school's behaviour policy; or
- where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.
Permanent exclusion is never an easy decision to make for any headteacher and before deciding on this option he/she will carry out an investigation into the disciplinary issues giving cause to the consideration.
The headteacher should take account of any contributing factors that are identified after an incident of poor behaviour has occurred. For example, where it comes to light that a pupil has suffered bereavement, has mental health issues or has been subject to bullying.
Early intervention to address underlying causes of disruptive behaviour should include an assessment of whether appropriate provision is in place to support any SEN or disability that a pupil may have.
Headteachers should also consider the use of a multi-agency assessment for pupils who demonstrate persistent disruptive behaviour. Such assessments may pick up unidentified special educational needs but the scope of the assessment could go further, for example, by seeking to identify mental health or family problems.
Following permanent exclusion the governing body is required to review the headteacher's decision. This review is to be carried out within 15 school days for the notice of exclusion.
The school must provide the governors (a panel of a minimum of three governors is required for this) with a full account of the reason(s) leading up to the permanent exclusion. The parent/carer and a local authority representative should also receive all this information. The governor review meeting is a formal affair and must be taken seriously.
From day six of a permanent exclusion the Local Authority becomes responsible for the pupil's education. This will be organised through a pupil referral unit (PRU). A placement in a pupil referral unit is not supposed to be long term. An assessment will be carried out and the Local Authority will support the pupil to address the issues which lead to the permanent exclusion.
For government information on exclusions see the Department for Education's exclusion advice.
For information about exclusion contact:
Mark Kennedy, Headteacher, ALP Hub
Kassim Hanid, Commissioning & Inclusion Officer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Natasha Spence, Commissioning & Inclusion Officer, ALP Hub