Suspension and Exclusion from School

Exclusion from school may also be referred to as ‘suspension from school’.

An exclusion happens when a headteacher decides that a child is not allowed to attend school either at lunchtime, for a fixed period of time (suspension from school), or permanently. During the exclusion the student must not come on to the school premises at any time, including breaks and lunchtimes. A student must only be excluded on disciplinary grounds.

The decision to exclude must be:

  • Lawful
  • Rational
  • Reasonable
  • Fair, and
  • Proportionate

Types of exclusion

Lunchtime exclusions are normally used when a child's behaviour is unacceptable in the playground or dining area. You must take the child home for the lunch period and return him/her for the start of the afternoon school session. It is expected that these exclusions will be used for short periods of time only and that plans are put in place to address need, improve behaviour and support the child in these periods. An exclusion that takes place over lunchtime would be counted as half a school day.

Suspensions last for a specific number of days. The number of days and when your child should return to school must be made clear by the head teacher. Suspensions are normally used for serious incidents. They can be used for a maximum of 45 days in any one school year.

Permanent exclusion usually occurs after an incident (or series of incidences) so serious that the head teacher decides that the student can no longer attend the school and his/her name will be removed from the school admission register following a review of the exclusion by representatives of the governing body.

The law on Suspension and Exclusion from school states that the decision to permanently exclude should be taken only:

  • in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school's behaviour policy, and
  • if allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school

Further Information


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Page last updated:

February 14, 2023

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