When a child is excluded from school it can be very upsetting and worrying time for you and your child. We explain what a permanent exclusion is and how we may be able to support you.
There are only two legal ways that a child can be excluded from school according to the Department for Education (DfE). This is through a permanent exclusion or a fixed term exclusion.
A permanent exclusion is very serious and could result in your child not being allowed to return to school and alternative education would need to be found.
There are strict procedures that the school and local authority (LA) have to follow which makes sure that the process is fair and in line with the government guidance.
The headteacher must notify parents, parent or carer, the governing body and the local authority without delay.
For the first five days of the exclusion, you are legally responsible for the whereabouts of your child. If your child is found in a public place during school hours, you would be liable for a £50 penalty notice.
You could designate a 'responsible adult', for example, auntie, to fulfil this duty.
The school should take reasonable steps to set your child work and mark it during the first five days of the exclusion. However, you need to arrange to collect and return the work.
From the sixth day of the exclusion the local authority must provide full time education.
The governing body have to meet within 15 school days to discuss a permanent exclusion, which you are allowed to attend.
What you can do
You have a right to put your concerns about your child's exclusion from school, in person. You should write to the school explaining that you want to make representation to the governors and for important information about your child and the schools policies.
Check with the school that your child has broken the schools behaviour and discipline policy.
You also have the right to ask to see:
- the school's behaviour and discipline policy
- the school's special educational needs policy
- the school's equal opportunities policy
- your child's school record
- your child's statement or education health care plan
- any witness statements relating to the incident leading to the exclusion
Go through the copy of the headteacher's report to the governors with your child.
Governors disciplinary committee meeting
The school governors, headteacher and you as parents, parent or carer will meet at a governors disciplinary committee meeting. You have the right to attend and should be invited by the school. You can take somebody with you for support.
The governors are the only people who can make a decision on whether to uphold the decision to exclude your child, which means your child, will not be allowed back into the school before the governors hearing.
Governors can overturn the headteacher's exclusion, which means your child will be able to return to the school.
You may be told at the meeting or receive in writing within one day what decision has been made.
If the decision is made to uphold the exclusion then the local authority will be in touch with you and a meeting will be held to discuss the options for your child's education.
If you do not agree with the governors' decision, you can request the local authority or academy trust to arrange an independent review panel. You have within 15 school days to decide if you want to do this.
The independent review panel can make one of three decisions;
- to uphold (confirm) your child's permanent exclusion
- to recommend that the governing body reconsiders their decision
- to quash the decision and direct that governing body to reconsiders the exclusion
An independent review panel does not have the power to direct a governing body to reinstate an excluded pupil.
Parents, parent or carer have the right to request an 'SEN Expert' at the independent review panel.
Parents, parent or carer of children with disabilities can appeal the decision at SEND tribunal which can direct reinstatement.
What we can do
We can help you to collect all the important information you need about your child, the school and exclusion.
We can help you to write letters to the school.
We can help you to collect information about the incident and write your ideas and thoughts down about your child's exclusion and possible reasons why it happened.
We may be able to attend meetings with you at school and help you to state your case effectively.
What you should do whilst your child is out of school
Most importantly talk to your child about the exclusion, they may feel worried, confused and scared.
Try to explain to your child what is happening and what the process of a permanent exclusion is. This may prepare your child for when they return to school or move to a new school.
Try to talk about what problems may have caused the exclusion and what your child might need from the school to help them with future problems.
Schools should avoid excluding a child with special educational needs apart from in exceptional circumstances.
If your child already has a statement the school should liaise with the local authority about an interim annual review of your child's statement early. This means that the school will review your child's statement and consider possible changes to support your child more effectively.
The headteacher should use the time between the permanent exclusion and the governors meeting to work with the local authority to discuss whether more support can be made available. They can also consider whether the statement can be changed to name a new school. If it is decided that this is possible for your child, the headteacher should withdraw the exclusion.
Permanent exclusions that are upheld
After a permanent exclusion has been upheld by the governors the local authority's responsibility to provide your child with education. This should be from the sixth school day after receiving notification of the permanent exclusion.
The integration pathways team, who will work with you when your child is permanently excluded. This team includes an educational psychologist, integration support teacher, school nurse, family therapist and family support manager - who your child will have access to, as necessary.
The integration pathways team, will come to visit you and discuss with you and your child the options for their education. This may be in the form of a support centre (a unit providing education for permanently excluded young people), home tuition, online learning (computer set up at home for pupils to attend lessons online) and for Year 10/11 pupils the possibility of work based placements or college placements.
If your child is in year 10/11 (GCSE years) they will still have the opportunity to carry on with their maths, English and science GCSE's at a support centre.
The local authority has additionally set up a protocol for young people, which means that the young person may eventually be re-integrated back in to a different school, at an appropriate time.
If your child has special educational needs (SEN) and was undergoing a statutory assessment, this team will continue to gather the evidence for this.
The local authority will name another educational placement on your child's statement.
Derbyshire Integration Pathways Team tel: 01629 531651
Advisory Centre for Education Exclusions tel: 0207 704 9822 or 0808 800 5793.
Department for Education tel: 0345 602 2260.
Derbyshire County Council tel: 01629 533190.
Contact us if you need further help or advice.
Links to other, useful websites
Derbyshire Information, Advice and Support Service for Special Educational Needs and Disability (DIASS) is not responsible for the content of any websites that are listed here.