School exclusion appeals

Exclusion is often a distressing experience for both children and parents and it’s very disruptive to a child’s education. At Tees our specialist education solicitors can offer advice on what to do if your child is excluded from school.

Polly Kerr, Royston
Polly Kerr, family and school specialist in Royston

Can you appeal against a school exclusion?

Yes, you have a right to challenge a permanent exclusion and certain fixed period exclusions, regardless of the type of state school your child attends. For private or independent schools the school’s procedure for challenging an exclusion will be different and will differ between schools. In cases involving independent schools, you should ask for a copy of the appeal process.

You will have received a letter from the school if your child has been excluded which will set out how you can appeal the decision. It’s important to act quickly as there are often time limits. Our education legal specialists can support and advise you and also represent you at the hearing if you wish.

What happens when a child is excluded?

A child can be excluded on a permanent or fixed term basis. Your child’s school will let you know about the exclusion, followed by a letter detailing the reason and the length of the exclusion. The school should also make you aware of how to appeal the exclusion, if you wish to do so. 

What is an unlawful exclusion?

An unlawful exclusion is one which is informal or unofficial, that is, it involves a child being sent home or sent off the school premises, without it being officially recorded as an exclusion. In order for an exclusion to be lawful it must be:

  • rational and fair
  • made by the head teacher, principal in an academy, or teacher in charge of the pupil referral unit
  • not made as a result of the school being unable to meet a child’s needs
  • due to a serious breach or repeated breaches of a school’s behaviour policy
  • not made as a result of parents’ behaviour or breakdown of relationship between parents and the school.

If you believe your child has been unlawfully excluded from school, your first step should be to pursue an internal complaint with the school. 

We’re here to help

You’ll find our team of education lawyers friendly and easy to talk to and we understand the ins-and-outs of education law. 

Our education law team is based in:

Cambridgeshire: Cambridge

Essex: BrentwoodChelmsford, and Saffron Walden

Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford and Royston 

But we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales

What are the types of exclusions?

There are three types of exclusion:

  • fixed term exclusion - for a certain number of days up to a maximum of 45 days in any one academic year.
  • permanent exclusion - when a child is no longer allowed to attend the school and their name is removed from the school roll. This can only happen if there has been a very serious disciplinary offence and the welfare of other pupils would suffer if the child remained in school.
  • lunchtime exclusion – when parents or careers have to take responsibility for their child during lunchtimes and return them to school for afternoon lessons. This is used when the child’s playground behaviour is considered unacceptable. 

Can a fixed-term exclusion be made permanent?

No, a fixed-term exclusion cannot be made permanent, or be extended. In rare cases, it is possible for a further fixed-term exclusion (or permanent exclusion) to be issued, to begin directly after the end of the first fixed-term exclusion. This usually only happens if further evidence of the incident that led to the exclusion has come to light.

Can my child be excluded for something that happened outside school?

Yes. The decision can be made to exclude if it can be established that there’s a link between the event outside school and maintaining good behaviour levels in the school.  This might apply if the child were to be accused of a serious crime such as possession of drugs or assault.

Make an enquiry today

Tees coronavirus update

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