School Exclusions

Exclusion is a serious step for a school to take and is usually only taken in response to breaches in discipline and conduct. We have outlined below the types of exclusion that can be given to a pupil and what happens once the decision to exclude has been made.

Children can be excluded if ...

  • there has been a serious breach of a school's discipline policy; and      
  • allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

In most cases other action should have been tried before excluding a pupil. However, it might be necessary for the Headteacher to take immediate action to protect pupils and staff. A permanent exclusion can be given for a first offence if, for example, the incident involved violence.

Types of exclusion

Fixed Period Exclusion

This means your child will be told not to come into school for a certain number of days. Exclusions should not exceed a total of 45 school days in a school year.

Permanent Exclusion

This means your child will not be able to return to that school again (pending the Governors meeting).

What happens while my child is excluded?

From September 2012, the Exclusions Guidance changed and the following arrangements came into force:

  • Parents are responsible for their child's education from days 1-5 of any exclusion. You should be aware that your child should not be found in a public place during this period without reasonable justification.
  • In the case of a fixed term exclusion, schools will provide full-time education for a pupil excluded over 5 days.
  • In the case of a permanent exclusion, the local authority will make arrangements for full-time education to commence by the sixth day of the exclusion.

The governing body must review a permanent exclusion, it will be reviewed whether you attend the meeting or not. The meeting will be held before the 15th school day of the exclusion at a time convenient to all parties. You can submit your case in writing but it is advisable for you to be there in person. The governing body can uphold the exclusion or direct the pupil’s reinstatement either immediately or by a particular date.

If any exclusion would result in the pupil missing a public examination, the governing body should try to meet before the date of the examination.

Reviewing a permanent exclusion

What happens at the meeting?

The parents, headteacher and Local Authority representative should go into the meeting at the same time. The headteacher will be asked to present their case for excluding your child. The governors, parents/carers and LA representative can ask the headteacher questions. You will then be asked to state your case and the governors, headteacher and LA representative can ask you questions. The headteacher and you are given the opportunity to sum up and then everybody except the clerk and the governors leave the room and the governors will make their decision.

Local Authority representation at a meeting of an Academy’s governing body to review an exclusion is as an observer and at the invitation of the parent.  The Local Authority representative may only make representations with the governing body’s consent.

Can I appeal against the governing body decision?

If the governing body upholds the headteacher’s decision then you have the right to make an application for the decision to be reviewed by an independent review panel.  You must put the reasons for your application in writing and may also include reference to any disability discrimination claim you may wish to make, and send this notice of appeal to the Local Authority no later than the 15th school day after receipt of the letter confirming the governing body’s decision.

The independent review panel must meet no later than the 15th school day after the date on which your application is submitted. The meeting is conducted in the same way as the governing body meeting and the panel can make one of three decisions: they may uphold your child’s exclusion; they may recommend the governing body reviews their decision or they could quash the decision and direct that the governing body considers the exclusion again.

The independent review panel’s decision is binding on the parent, governing body, headteacher and the Local Authority. The pupil remains on the roll of the school until the outcome of the independent review is known or until the time limit for parents to submit a request for an independent review has ended.

A parent can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman about maladministration and either the parent or the governing body may apply to the High Court for a judicial review if they consider the panel’s decision to be perverse.

Who makes the decision to exclude a pupil?

Only the Headteacher may exclude a pupil, either permanently or for a fixed period, from school. If the Headteacher is absent, then it should be the most senior teacher on the school site that day.

How will I be told my child has been excluded?

Where possible, you will be told immediately, by telephone, about the exclusion by someone from the school.

You will then be sent a letter by the Headteacher that will tell you:

  • the reasons for the exclusion;   
  • if the exclusion is for a fixed period, the length of the exclusion and date for return (if it is a lunchtime exclusion, the number of lunchtimes the pupil is excluded for);   
  • if the exclusion is permanent, the date the exclusion starts, details of any relevant previous history;   
  • your right to make representations to the Governors, the latest date the Committee must meet and who to contact if you would like to make representations;  
  • your right to see your child's school record and who to contact to do so;   
  • Arrangements for the continuing education of your child
  • The contact details for the Local Education Area, Exclusions Officer
  • The Headteacher will also inform the council of all exclusions. The school's governing body is informed of exclusions that bring the total to more than 5 days in a term, and all permanent exclusions for each pupil.

Our Exclusions Officer is part of the Access to EducationTeam, telephone 01273 293480

You may also wish to the talk to The Coram Children’s Legal Centre  08088 020 008​

Governing Body's role in reviewing an exclusion

A panel/committee of the School's Governing Body can look at the details of an exclusion and consider whether your child should be allowed to go back to school. The time in which the governors should meet depends on how long your child's exclusion is (see below). In some cases you will have to request a meeting.

The governors will make a decision about whether or not they feel the exclusion was appropriate based on all the information available to them.

They should notify you and the local authority of their decision within one school day of the hearing, giving the reasons.

Who may be at the Governor's meeting?

  • three or five governors 
  • parents/carers 
  • your child (if you wish)
  • the Headteacher 
  • a clerk 
  • someone from the Local Authority, for a permanent exclusion 
  • someone from ACE (Brighton & Hove) may attend
  • witnesses/school staff may also present information 

When will the meeting be held?

This depends on the length of the exclusion:

Can I appeal against the decision of the Governing Body?

Only in the case of a permanent exclusion - there is no right of appeal for fixed period exclusions. The letter from the Governors confirming the exclusion will tell you about the appeal process. The LA will also write to you after the meeting giving details of how to appeal should you wish to do so.

Further information and publications

Brighton & Hove City Council publishes a leaflet for parents and carers about the exclusions process. If you would like a copy, please contact the Exclusions Co-ordinator on 01273 293480.

Government Guidance on Exclusion from Schools and Pupil Referral Units (Sept 2008) is available from the the Department for Education on 0845 60 2222 60 or from their website:

For general independent advice about the exclusions process and other school related matters contact:

Coram's Legal Centre


Telephone 08088 020 088