School exclusions

Only the head teacher of a school or academy can take a decision to exclude a pupil. This must be on disciplinary grounds.

A pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods or permanently. Alternative education arrangements and procedures for challenging the exclusion will depend on the type of exclusion.

The head teacher can take a decision to exclude a pupil:

  • in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of a school's behaviour policy
  • where allowing your child to remain in school would seriously harm the education and welfare of your child or others in the school.

There is no list of set behaviours for which a pupil can and cannot be excluded; the decision to exclude is made by the head teacher.

Head teachers can only exclude a pupil for a disciplinary reason (e.g. because their behaviour violates the school’s behaviour policy). They cannot exclude a pupil for academic performance/ability, or because they have additional needs or a disability that the school feels it is unable to meet.

A head teacher can exclude for behaviour outside of school, or for repeatedly disobeying academic instructions.

Your child cannot attend the school they have been excluded from during any period of exclusion.

Schools cannot force a parent to remove their child permanently from the school or to keep their child out of school for any period of time without formally excluding. The threat of exclusion must never be used to influence parents to remove their child from the school.