Exclusion is a very serious matter. Only a school’s head teacher (or a person with delegated authority to act on behalf of the head teacher, if the head teacher is not on the school site) can exclude a pupil.

A head teacher may decide to exclude a pupil only when he/she is sure that:

  • The pupil has broken the school’s discipline policy; and
  • If the pupil remaining in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

There are two main types of exclusion – fixed period and permanent.

Fixed period exclusion (FPE)

A pupil is excluded from school for a fixed number of days and a date is set for a return to school. During this period the pupil must not enter the school premises. Unless there are exceptional circumstances (for example, new evidence comes to light about the incident for which the pupil was excluded or the FPE was “in the first instance” with a clear statement that this is the case and that it may be extended or turned into a permanent exclusion), the pupil must return to school on the day following the last day of exclusion, even if the parent/carer cannot attend any reintegration meeting which may be arranged.

Permanent exclusion (PE)

This is where the school wants to remove the pupil from their school roll – the pupil will not return to that school unless the Governors’ Disciplinary Committee, which reviews the Head Teacher’s decision to permanently exclude, overturns that decision. Parents have a right for the governors’ decision to be reviewed by an Independent Review Panel. The review panel can uphold the exclusion, recommend that the governing body reconsiders the exclusion or quash the decision and direct that the governing body considers the exclusion again. The review panel cannot directly reinstate the pupil.

A head teacher will usually only permanently exclude a pupil as a last resort, after trying to improve their behaviour through other means. However, there are exceptional circumstances in which a head teacher may decide to permanently exclude a pupil for a first or “one-off” offence.

Help for parents and guardians

Exclusions – Model Letters

These letters are to be sent to parents when a child has been excluded. You will note that the modified paragraphs have been highlighted and these reflect the current information from the Department for Education.

Model letter 1 (DOCX, 39.9 KB)

From head teacher notifying a parent of a fixed period exclusion of 5 school days or fewer in one term, and where a public examination is not missed.

Model letter 2 (DOCX, 40.45 KB)

From head teacher notifying parent(s) of a pupil of that pupil’s fixed period exclusion of more than 5 school days (up to and including 15 school days) in a term.

Model letter 3 (DOCX, 40.49 KB)

From head teacher notifying a parent of a fixed period exclusion of more than 15 school days in total in one term.

Model letter 4 (DOCX, 41.83 KB)

From the head teacher of a primary, secondary or special school notifying the parent(s) of that pupil’s permanent exclusion.

Model letter 5 (DOCX, 38.13 KB)

From the clerk to the governing body to a parent upholding a permanent exclusion.

The additional information below is to support schools in the exclusions process.

Checklist for Clerk to Governors Disciplinary Committee (PDF, 135.61 KB) Checklist for Governors Disciplinary Committee (PDF, 132.83 KB) Exclusion Checklist for Head Teachers (PDF, 131.31 KB) Exclusions Procedures Flowchart (PDF, 204.4 KB)