Having your child excluded from school can be an upsetting, difficult and a worrying time for you and your child.
Exclusion should not be used for:
- minor incidents such as not doing homework or not bringing dinner money.
- poor academic performance.
- lateness or truancy.
- breaking school uniform rules or rules on appearance including jewellery, body piercing and hairstyle (except where the behaviour is persistent and in open defiance of school rules).
- the behaviour of parents.
- parents refusal to come to a meeting
- a child's own protection from bullying.
An exclusion can be for a Fixed Period. This means that a pupil is not allowed in school for a specified number of days because they have breached the school's behaviour policy. Most fixed period exclusions are for 5 days or less. Only the head of a school can exclude a pupil or, in the heads absence, the most senior teacher.
When deciding to exclude a pupil the head should:
- make sure that a thorough investigation has been carried out.
- give the child the chance to say what happened.
- think carefully about the evidence available.
- take into account the school’s behaviour and equal opportunities policies plus the law on race relations and disability discrimination if relevant, as schools have a positive duty to promote equality.
- check whether bullying or racial or sexual harassment of your child led to your child’s actions.
- if necessary consult with others.
- keep a written record of actions taken, including an interview with your child (witness statements must be dated and should be signed, where possible).
The head must tell you about the exclusion immediately, ideally by telephone. Within one school day from deciding to exclude your child the head should send a letter to you which must include:
- the precise period of the exclusion.
- the reasons for the exclusion.
- the days when you must make sure your child is not in a public place during school hours.
- what arrangements the school has made for your child to continue his or her education for the first 5 days, eg. by giving homework and marking it.
- when your child will be provided with alternative suitable full-time education (if the exclusion is for more than 5 days).
- the arrangements for a reintegration meeting where appropriate.
- your right to state your case to the governors and how to go about this.
- how your child can be involved in the process.
An exclusion can also be Permanent. Again, only the head of a school can exclude a pupil or, in the heads absence, the most senior teacher.
Permanent exclusion should be used as a last resort when all other alternatives have been exhausted.
Your child should only have been permanently excluded:
- if they have seriously broken the school’s behaviour policy and
- it would seriously harm the education or welfare of themselves or others if they stayed in school.
For further support and information:
Phone the ACE (The Advisory Centre for Education) 24 hour exclusion information line 020 7704 9822, Exclusion Advice Line 0808 800 0327 (Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm) or visit the ACE website.
The Education Welfare Service, Young Peoples Support Service (YPSS) and the Behaviour Support Service work with schools and families to try and prevent children from being excluded from school and, should exclusion take place, reintergrating children back into full-time education.
Your child's school should refer your child to the Education Welfare Service if they feel that your child may be at risk of a permanent exclusion. An Education Welfare Officer (EWO) will contact you and will work with you, your child and the school to try to prevent your child from being permanently excluded.
Your Local Education Team can be contacted on the following numbers:
- Wiltshire (North ) - phone 01249 659223
- Wiltshire (East) - phone 01380 735750
- Wiltshire (South) - phone 01722 438063
- Wiltshire (West) - phone 01225 713791