Exclusion from school

Children with special educational needs (“SEN”) and/or disabilities are much more likely to be excluded from school than their classmates.

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 a pupil. There are only two types of exclusion from a school which are lawful: permanent and fixed-period.

This means that legally a pupil is either in school full-time or they are excluded from school. They can be excluded for a fixed term (for a specific number of school days) or permanently excluded. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for a short period of time, must be formally and accurately recorded.

Pupils can only be excluded for disciplinary reasons: they cannot be excluded because a school, pupil referral unit (PRU) or academy cannot meet their needs or for something which their parents did or did not do.

‘Informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions, such as sending a pupil 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 parents or carers. 

Too many children and young people with SEN and disabilities are excluded illegally. Unlawful exclusion of a pupil with a disability may amount to disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

When a child is excluded, the school should make every effort to set and mark work for children for the first five days of an exclusion. From day 6, the Local Authority must assume the responsibility for educating the child. You may hear this being called 6th day provision. In Bolton, our main primary age sixth day provision is the Forwards Centre. Our main secondary school sixth day provision is Youth Challenge. Sometimes, due to capacity, it may be your child isn't placed in these settings, and the LA source something different. The officer for inclusion who can guide you through what will happen is Paula Andrews. She can be contacted on 01204 338133. 

If your child receives a permanent exclusion and has an EHC Plan, you should contact the SEND assessment team on 01204 338612, as they have a duty to secure the special educational provision in the plan. 

Although IAS can't do anything to prevent an exclusion from taking place once it has been given, we can support you should your child have a disability, if you feel the exclusion was because of their disability. We can also support you at meetings to unpick why children with SEN are picking up frequent exclusions. 

More detailed information about exclusion can be found here

Information on this page is derived from IPEAS's exclusion guidance.