An exclusion is when a Head Teacher decides to send a pupil home from school or Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) as a disciplinary measure.  Only the Head Teacher (or, in the absence of the Head Teacher, the Acting Head Teacher) can exclude a pupil.

What kinds of exclusions are there?

There are two types of exclusion, fixed period and permanent.

  • Fixed period exclusion is where a pupil is excluded for a fixed number of days or lunchtimes and must return to the school or PRU once the exclusion has ended. A decision to exclude for a fixed period should be taken only in response to breaches of the school's behaviour policy, where these are not serious enough to warrant permanent exclusion and lesser sanctions are considered inappropriate.
  • Permanent exclusion means a pupil cannot return to the school or PRU they are excluded from unless the school governing body/PRU management committee, or an Independent Appeal Panel, overturns the Head Teacher's decision. The decision to exclude permanently is a serious one.  It is an acknowledgement by the school or PRU that it has exhausted all available strategies for dealing with the pupil and should normally be used as a last resort.

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How am I told that my child has been excluded?

Head Teachers must contact parents on the day the decision is made to exclude their child, ideally by phone.  A letter must follow confirming the details of the exclusion and how parents can have their say to the school governing body or the PRU management committee.

What are my responsibilities as a parent during exclusions?

If your child is of compulsory school age, for the first 5 days of any exclusion:

  • You have a legal duty to ensure that your child is not present in a public place during school hours unless you can prove reasonable justification for this. You may be prosecuted or given a fixed penalty notice if you do not comply with this duty.
  • School/PRU will set work for your child to do. It is your responsibility to ensure this is completed and returned to the school/PRU for marking.

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How many times can my child be excluded?

Fixed period exclusions are limited to a cumulative total of 45 days in any one academic year (lunchtime exclusions count as ½ days). This total applies to the child and not to the school or PRU they attend. Therefore, if a pupil changes school or PRU during an academic year, any previous exclusion's in that academic year count towards the limit of 45 days.

How can I have my say about the exclusion?

Firstly, you may wish to talk to discuss the exclusion with the Head Teacher.
The school governing body/PRU management committee must consider any views you wish to put about the exclusion.

You can put your views:

  • In a written statement for all exclusions and/or
  • In person, for permanent exclusions and fixed period exclusions totalling more than 5 days in a term. You can take a friend or legal representative with you, someone whose advice you would find helpful or who can speak on your behalf.  Excluded children under the age of 18 should be allowed and encouraged to attend the meeting.

Details of how you can have your say to the school governing body/PRU management committee will be sent to you in the exclusion notification letter.

Pupils who are aged 18 or over can make their own representations.

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What is the role of the school governing body/ PRU management committee?

Schools and pupil Referral Units (PRU's) have a committee whose role is to consider exclusions imposed by the Head Teacher. It has at least three members and a clerk to organise its meetings. The Head Teacher cannot be a member.

The committee must decide "on the balance of probabilities" whether your child has done what has been alleged and whether the Head Teacher's decision to exclude was justified based on the evidence.
The committee must send you written confirmation of its decision within one school day of its meeting. A note will be placed on your child's school file together with copies of relevant papers.

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Where can I get more information?

You can contact the Attendance Team

The Newcastle Attendance Team will:

  • Provide information about exclusions: procedures; parents' rights of representation and appeal
  • Establish and maintain contact with parents and pupils where appropriate
  • Provide information on options available to permanently excluded pupils to continue their education
  • Support the reintegration of permanently excluded pupils
  • Help to forge positive partnerships between our Pupil Referral Unit, home and school community
  • Represent the Local Authority at Independent Appeal Panels for exclusions.

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Other Information You May Find Useful

  • The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) - an independent national advice centre for parents of children in state schools.  It offers information and support on state education in England and Wales, including on exclusion from school/PRU.  It can be contacted: Phone 020 7704 9822, text 'AskACE' to 68808 or the ACE Website (external site opens in a new window)
  • The Department for Children, Schools and Families, Exclusion and Alternative Provision website. (External site opens in a new window)

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Contact the Attendance Team

If you would like to talk to someone about your concerns, all Attendance Team staff can be contacted at:

Attendance Service 
School Improvement Service 
Children's Services
Newcastle City Council
Benfield School   
Benfield Road  
Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone: 0191 277 4500
Fax: 0191 277 4515

Advice for carers of looked after children

Please contact the child's social worker or seek advice from Aspire on 0191 298 6960 extension 265.

The Aspire Team also have a dedicated Attendance Officer who will investigate issues of concern around attendance and exclusion.

Advice for parents of children with special educational needs

Contact the Parent Partnership Service

Page last updated: 
11 December 2013
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