Under the Schools Standards Framework Act 1998, schools are permitted to carry out exclusions. Exclusions are only permitted in specified circumstances. The decision to exclude a child from a school is a serious matter and it is a formal process, governed by legal processes, duties and requirements placed on the school, school governors and at certain points, on the Local Authority.
There are only two types of exclusion.
- Fixed Term. This is an exclusion for a fixed number of days during which a child must remain at home and not return to school. A maximum of 45 days applies across each school year for any pupil, and work should be set and marked in all cases of more than a day’s exclusion. If a pupil is excluded for a block of more than 15 school days the pupil must receive full-time and appropriate education whilst excluded. The head teacher should plan for the pupil’s education during that period. For exclusions for 6 days or over, the School must arrange a meeting of the Governors Discipline Committee to consider the exclusion, where parents can attend to make representations.
- Permanent Exclusions. This is where it is the head teachers intention that the pupil should not return to the school. The decision should only be taken when all of the following are present:
◦In response to serious breaches of the school’s discipline policy.
◦When a range of alternative strategies have been tried and have failed; and
◦If allowing the pupil to remain would seriously harm the education and welfare of the pupil or others in the school
Where there are exceptional circumstances the Head Teacher may decide to exclude for a first or one-off offence. These may include –
- Following serious actual or threatened violence
- Sexual misconduct
- Supplying an illegal drug
- Carrying an offensive weapon.
Note that in all cases of exclusion, the school must notify the parents immediately by telephone or visit and in by letter within one school day.
Guidance relating to Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
Schools have duties under the Equality Act not to treat disabled pupils less favourably than their non-disabled peers without justification and having taken reasonable steps to ensure that disabled pupils are not placed at a substantial disadvantage. The Act covers all school activities whether in school or not, whether during the school day or not.
Note: If the activity is one arranged by school, the act applies.
To find out more information about exclusions please click the links below or speak to Oldham SENDIAS Service for further advice.