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What is an exclusion from school?

An exclusion means that your child is not allowed to attend school, for a period of time.

There are 2 types of exclusion:
1) Fixed Period Exclusion – where a pupil is not allowed to attend school for a fixed number of days or lunchtimes.

A pupil cannot receive more than 45 days fixed term exclusion in a school year.

Lunchtime Exclusions – are counted as fixed term exclusions (lunchtime = ½ day). A pupil given a lunchtime exclusion should leave the school premises for the duration of the lunchtime and return for the afternoon session.

If, as part of a planned programme, the parent/carer agrees that their child should not stay at school during lunch-time then this will not count as an exclusion.

2) Permanent Exclusion – where the school does not wish the pupil to return to that school again and should only be used as a last resort.

Only the head teacher can exclude a pupil (or the next most senior teacher in school, if the head teacher is away).
The head teacher can only exclude a pupil if s/he believes that what the pupil has done is:
– A serious breach or persistent breaches of the schools behaviour policy
– where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

Following the Exclusion

If your child is excluded you should be notified by the school via phone call in the first instance immediately following the Head teachers decision to exclude.

This will then be followed up with a letter from the school detailing the reason for exclusion, the day(s) it covers, information on appealing and the date the pupil is due back in school and to a reintegration meeting

Unofficial Exclusions

If your child has been sent home ‘to cool off’ following an incident or you are asked to keep your child away from school for a period of time – this is an unofficial exclusion and is unlawful.

Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time regardless of whether they occur with agreement of parent/carers, must be formally recorded as such.

Exclusions of 6 days or more

If your child’s exclusion is for a period of longer than 5 school days, the school must organise full-time alternative education from the sixth day of the exclusion and for the remainder of the exclusion.

The school will communicate the times and whereabouts of the alternative education to you in a letter at least 48 hours before your child is due to attend there.

Getting support and advice with Exclusion

When a child is excluded from their education setting you may need to speak to somebody for extra support or information.

In Portsmouth City Council it is the Attendance, Admissions, Exclusions & Reintegration Service that manage school exclusion.

Their contact details are:

Tel: 023 9284 1419


You can also contact Portsmouth Information Advice and Support Service.


School Exclusions Frequently asked questions

My child has been excluded, what happens about school work?

The school is responsible for setting and marking work for the first 5 days of your child’s exclusion. You will have to make arrangements for collecting it from the school and returning it for marking.

What do I do if I don't agree with the Exclusion?

If you disagree with the exclusion, for any reasons, you should, first of all:

Try and speak to someone in the school about the exclusion. If you can’t speak to the head teacher, try and speak to the deputy head or your child’s head of year.

If the school still wants to go ahead with the exclusion, you can ask the Governing Board to meet and review the exclusion.

• If your child has been excluded for more than 15 days in a term (this could be made up of several short exclusions, or one long one), or has been permanently excluded, the Governing Board will automatically meet. This will happen within 15 school days of the exclusion that takes your child’s total over 15 days.

• If your child has been excluded for less than 15 days, you will have to ask the Governing Board to meet (details of how to do this will be in your exclusion letter). The Governing Board must meet within 50 school days of the exclusion.

If the exclusion means your child will miss more than 15 days in a term, or you have requested a meeting of the Governing Board, the school will write to you to inform you of when the meeting will take place. If you want to send in any written information in advance, you will be given a date by which to do so. You do not have to send in anything if you don’t want to.

Copies of the schools’ case should be sent to you at least 5 days in advance of the meeting.

Who attends the Governing Board meeting?

The Governing Board will be made up of 3 or 5 governors.

• One of the governors should act as the chair.
• A representative from the school. For a permanent exclusion this should be the head teacher.
• A clerk will be there to take notes.
• A representative from the Local Authority (LA) may attend the meeting. They will be there to make sure that the Governing Board follows the right procedures and may be able to provide some helpful information.
• You and your child, if you permit them to
• You may also bring a friend or legal representative with you to the meeting.

What will happen at the Governing Board meeting?

The Plan co-ordinator will invite parent carers and children/young people.The aim of the meeting is to ensure that the views of all the parties are heard in an impartial way. The governors should scrutinise the school’s case to make sure they made the right decision to exclude. The meeting should be as informal as possible.

• The chair should introduce everyone.
• The school will be asked to describe the events that led to exclusion and their reasons for excluding your child.
• The school should provide a written record of actions taken.
• All the other parties can then ask the school questions.
• You will be asked to present your case (what you think about the exclusion).
• All the other parties can then ask you questions.
• The LA will have a chance to make a statement.
• All the other parties can then ask the LA representative any questions
• The school, then you, will be asked to sum up your cases.

When the meeting is over, all parties (except the Governing Board and the Clerk) will leave the room. The decision of the Governing Board will be made in private.

Everybody currently involved in your child’s education, health and social care will also be invited to the meeting. You can ask your plan co-ordinator if there is somebody specific you would like at the meeting and they will then invite them.

Professionals from the Local Authority will also be asked to attend the Annual Review meeting. If somebody is unable to attend the meeting they will be asked to contribute to the annual review in another way.

When will I find out the decision from the Governing Board Meeting?

For exclusions totalling less than 5 days if you requested a meeting, the Governing Board must discuss the case and write to you with their views on it. (They are not required to arrange a meeting with you.) This will be attached to your child’s exclusion and placed on his/her school file. They cannot, however, REINSTATE the pupil (that is, overturn the decision made by the head teacher).

For exclusions totalling more than 5 days, or permanent exclusions the Governing Board will either UPHOLD the exclusion (i.e. agree with what the school has done) or REINSTATE the pupil (that is agree with your appeal).

The Governing Board must write to you, within one school day, detailing their decision and the reasons for it. If it is a permanent exclusion, they will give you details on how you can appeal against the decision.

If I do not agree with the decision from the Governing Board Meeting, can I appeal?

Further Appeals

Fixed Period Exclusions

There is no further right of appeal against fixed term exclusions, unless your child has a disability and you feel that the school has discriminated against him/her on the basis of their disability. In such cases, parents may make a claim under the Equality Act 2010 to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability), in the case of disability discrimination, or the County Court in the case of other forms of discrimination. The LA can provide you with advice on how to appeal on these grounds.

Permanent Exclusions

If your child has been permanently excluded, you have the right to request an Independent Review Panel.

If you wish to apply for an Independent Review Panel you must write to the LA, explaining why you wish to so, within 15 school days of the date of the Governing Board’s letter upholding the decision of Head teacher to permanently exclude. Any requests received after the 15 days (following the Governing Board meeting) will be considered outside of the legal time frame and will be rejected by the Local Authority / Academy Trust.

What is the Independent Review Panel?

The Independent Review Panel will meet within 15 school days of receiving your letter.

The Panel is comprised of three people:
• a head teacher or individual who has been a head teacher within the last five years,
• a school governor who has served for at last 12 consecutive months
• and a lay member to chair the panel who has not worked in any school in a paid capacity and is completely independent of the school and the LA.

The Panel will be attended by the School (the head teacher and a representative from the Governing Board) and the LA. You will be allowed and encouraged to bring your child (unless there is good reason for refusing) and a friend or legal representative.

The Panel will hear the case and the meeting will follow a similar format to that of the Governing Board Meeting. They will consider whether a pupil has done what they have been accused of, whether the head teacher abided by the law and in the circumstances whether a permanent exclusion was an appropriate response.

Parents have the right to request the attendance of an SEN expert at the review, regardless of whether the school recognises that their child has and special educational needs (SEN). The focus of the SEN experts advice should be on whether the school’s policies, relating to SEN or the application of their polices in relation to the excluded pupil, were legal, reasonable and procedurally fair.

The role of the Panel is to review the Governing Board’s decision and is not able to direct reinstatement of a pupil. The panel may only quash the decision of the Governing Board where it considers that it was flawed and direct or recommend that the Governing Board reconsiders their decision not to reinstate. In all other cases the permanent exclusion with remain upheld.

The decision of the panel is binding on all parties and minutes of the meeting including the decision will be sent to all those invited to attend the Panel.

NB You have the right to request an Independent Review Panel even if you did not attend the original Governing Board meeting and/or you do not wish your child to return to the excluding school.

If you would like some help you can contact Portsmouth IASS for further information and advice.



Related Documents and Links

Related links and documents

Click here to read the Portsmouth City Council Guide to School Exclusions Document

External links

The exclusion legislation ‘Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England – A guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion’ can be obtained from the following website:

Coram Children’s Legal Centre
0345 345 4345


ACE Education
0300 0115 142

Portsmouth SENDIASS

An impartial service providing information, advice and guidance on SEND.

Click here to visit SENDIASS

Portsmouth SEN Team

The Special Educational Needs Team at portsmouth city council are responsible for EHCPs.

Portsmouth SEN Team info
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Portsmouth Parent Voice

Helping parent carers of young people aged 0-25 with additional needs and disabilities to shape and improve local services

Click here to visit Portsmouth Parent Voice

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