Information for Young People
Take a look at our guidance on types of exclusions and what happens after an exclusion.
What to do if you’re excluded from school
First, let’s look at the rules around being permanently excluded:
Schools are only supposed to expel pupils as a last resort and it should be because of your behaviour. This means it can’t come down to whether you have learning difficulties or how academic you are. It’s also illegal to discriminate against a student because of things like their sex or religion.
If you’re 15 or 16 then you’re focusing on your GCSEs, this is a really important time in your education.
There are two types of exclusion – fixed term and permanent.
Only the head teacher of a school (or the teacher in charge of a pupil referral unit or the principal of an academy) can exclude you. There are only two types of exclusion from a school which are lawful: permanent and fixed term.
This means that legally you are either in school full-time or you are excluded from school. You can be excluded for a fixed term (for a specific number of school days) or permanently excluded. Any exclusion, even for a short period of time, must be formally and accurately recorded.
You can only be excluded for disciplinary reasons: you cannot be excluded because a school, pupil referral unit (PRU) or academy cannot meet your needs.
‘Informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions, such as sending you home to cool off or the school putting a pupil on a ‘part-time timetable’, are all unlawful regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of you or your parent/carer. See what steps the school has to take in order for the exclusion to be lawful.
A permanent exclusion is where you are told you cannot come back to the school. This is also called being expelled. There are a number of things the school is legally required to do when you are permanently excluded.
The Head must write immediately explaining that the exclusion is permanent and giving the reason for the exclusion.
The Head must inform the Governors and LA. If you live outside the local authority that school is located, the head teacher must also tell the ‘home authority’ of the exclusion straight away.
The Governors must meet within 15 days of receiving the notice of exclusion (if the exclusion will mean you missing an external or National Curriculum exam they must take reasonable steps to meet before the date of the exam) and you have the right to attend.
You have the right to make ‘written representations’ which must be considered by governors.
If you do not agree the decision of a governing body not to reinstate you, you can ask for this decision to be reviewed by an independent review panel.
What is an independent review panel?
If you do not agree with the decision of a governing board not to reinstate you, you can ask for this decision to be reviewed by an independent review panel. An independent review panel cannot tell a governing board to reinstate you. However, where a panel decides that a governing board’s decision has not followed the legal guidelines, it can direct a governing board to reconsider its decision.
Whether or not a school recognises a pupil as having SEN, you have the right to request the presence of an SEN expert at a review meeting. The SEN expert’s role is to advise the review panel of your special educational needs and how this may have been something they should consider when they look at the incident that caused the school to exclude you.. For example, they may advise whether the school acted reasonably in relation to its legal duties when excluding you.
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