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Exclusion and Suspension

Exclusion from school means that a pupil is not allowed in school for disciplinary reasons. The exclusion can either be temporary for a given number of days known as a suspension, or it might be permanent. Either way, a child being suspended or excluded from school can be both stressful and emotional for the parents, as well as for the child.

Only a Head Teacher (or Deputy Head if the Head Teacher is off site) can exclude a child. If your child is suspended or excluded, it is important that you have the right information and support and that you ask the right questions about options for the future.   

Exclusions can take the form of:

  • fixed term (a suspension for a set number of days)
  • permanent (your child is asked not to return to school)
  • unofficial (an illegal suspension without a letter)
  • lunchtime (a suspension for a set number of lunchtimes – these should be recorded as half days)

A pupil may be suspended from school for one short period of time, several fixed periods (up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year), or permanently excluded. In exceptional cases usually, where further evidence has come to light, a fixed-period suspension may be extended or converted to a permanent exclusion.

Pupils can be permanently excluded or suspended for their behaviour outside of school.

Pupils should not be suspended or permanently excluded for:

  • having a disability or special educational need (SEN) that the school feel they are unable to meet
  • not doing well with schoolwork
  • their gender, race, religion, or becoming pregnant
  • their parents' behaviour

If a pupil has SEN, school should be making sure they are providing appropriate and necessary support to avoid the need for any suspension or permanent exclusion.

If a pupil has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), an interim review should be held if they are at risk of being permanently excluded. 

What can you do if you do not agree?

You can put your case to the Governing Body of the school. For a suspension of less than 5 1/2 days, they do not have to meet with you, but must consider your views.

If the Governors agree with a permanent exclusion, then you may ask for an Independent Review Panel (IRP). The IRP may direct the Governors to look at their decision again. You can ask for a SEN expert to be at the IRP if you believe a child has SEN. They give neutral advice at the panel meeting. 

If your child is permanently excluded from school, we recommend contacting the Southend City Council Inclusion Team as soon as possible.

They will be responsible for identifying and arranging alternative education for your child from the 6th day of their permanent exclusion from school. They can provide advice and information and assist you to communicate with your school. You can call them on 01702 215482 or email

Advice Advocacy and Representation

Details of organisations that can provide free support, advice and or advocacy and representation at hearings: 

The School Exclusion Project provide a free service offering representation by postgraduate law students at City University School of Law, trained on the law relating to school exclusions. They can review cases and represent families at hearings where a child has been permanently excluded from school (not fixed-term suspensions).

Coram’s Child Law Advice Service provides information about the process to be followed by Schools and the Local Authority and a parent's right to make representations against an appeal to the Governing Body of the School.

The Government has statutory guidance about suspension and exclusion. For more information, you can read the guidance.