A fixed-term exclusion, also known as a suspension, is an exclusion from school for a specified amount of time. Only the head teacher or acting head teacher has the authority to exclude a pupil.
This must be on disciplinary grounds, but can include behaviour of pupils outside school premises. It is unlawful to exclude or to increase the severity of an exclusion for non-disciplinary reasons.
A pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods, but this must not exceed 45 days in a single academic year.
For exclusions that are for five days or less, the school is responsible for setting and marking work. For exclusions over five days, schools must arrange alternative provision from the sixth day.
In exceptional cases, usually where further evidence has come to light, a fixed period exclusion may be extended or converted to a permanent exclusion.
Telling parents and carers
Once the decision has been taken to exclude a pupil, the head teacher must tell parents immediately. They must also provide parents with the following information in writing:
- The reason for exclusion.
- The duration of exclusion.
- Parents’ right to make representations about the exclusion to the governing body and how the pupil may be involved.
- How any representations should be made.
- Where there is a legal requirement for the governing body to consider the exclusion, that parents have the right to attend a meeting, be represented at this meeting (at their own expense) and to bring a friend.
Written information should be either hand-delivered to parents, or posted to the last known address.
Responsibility for a child on a fixed-term exclusion
For the first five days of exclusion (or until the start date of alternative provision where this is earlier) parents/carers are legally required to ensure their child is not present in a public place during school hours without reasonable justification. Parents/carers who fail to do so may be given a fixed penalty notice or face prosecution.
Pupils whose behaviour at lunchtime is disruptive may be excluded from the school premises for the duration of the lunchtime period. In instances of lunchtime exclusion, the head teacher is still duty-bound to notify parents/carers without delay. Lunchtime exclusions are counted as half a school day for statistical purposes.
Exclusions over five days
If a pupil is excluded for more than five consecutive days, alternative provision must be arranged from the sixth day. The head teacher must tell you of the following:
- The start date for the alternative provision.
- Start and finish times.
- The address at which the provision will take place.
- Information required by the pupil to identify the person he/she should report to on the first day.
This information must be provided without delay and no later than 48 hours before the provision is due to start.
Your right to make representations to the school’s governing body
You have the right to tell the governing body what you think about the exclusion. This is called making representations.
If the exclusion is fewer than five days in one term, the governing body must consider any representations, but it cannot direct reinstatement and is not required to arrange a meeting with parents.
If the exclusion is over five days but no more than 15 days in a school term and you make representations, the governing body must review the fixed-term exclusion and decide whether to reinstate the pupil or uphold the head teacher’s decision within 50 school days of receiving notice.
Where no representations are made there is no need for the governing body to meet. If the pupil has returned to school before the governing body meet, although reinstatement will not be possible, they must still place a copy of their findings on the pupil’s school record.
The governing body must review all fixed term exclusions over 15 days in a school term between the sixth and fifteenth school day from the date of the exclusion, or where a pupil would miss a public examination. In such cases, the governing body must consider the exclusion before the date of the examination.
As the local authority, we have no power to instruct a school to re-admit your child.