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Unofficial exclusion

19 November 2014

Good discipline in school is essential to make sure children benefit from the opportunities provided by education. The government supports headteachers in using exclusion where it's warranted.


However, unofficial exclusion, where a child is kept away from school without following formal exclusion procedures, is unlawful and should be challenged.  
Unofficial exclusions are often presented as favourable to parents and children. However, unofficial exclusions often lack reason and clarity about how long the exclusion will last. They can lead to children missing considerable amounts of education or even dropping out of the system altogether. It also means the right to make representations to the governors or attend a meeting will not be triggered.
This also applies to lunch time exclusion; if a child is asked by the school to go home at lunchtimes, this must be recorded as a half day exclusion for each lunchtime.

Part-time timetables


All children, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to a full-time education which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have.

It is illegal for a school to impose a reduced or part-time timetable. Schools have a statutory duty to provide full time education for all pupils.

In some cases, if a child or young person has been out of school, unwell or excluded, a part-time timetable may be used as a short-term measure towards achieving full reintegration. A part-time timetable must be agreed by the school, parents/ carers and all other agencies involved. It must be a formal written agreement most appropriately done through a Pastoral Support Plan (PSP). 

A part-time timetable must not be treated as a long-term solution. Any PSP or other agreement must have a time limit by which point the pupil is expected to attend full-time or be provided with alternative provision.

If, by implementing a part-time timetable, the pupil is absent for part of the week, the school must record it as an authorised absence. 

If you have any concerns that a child is not receiving a full offer of education, please complete the online notification form and a member of the Alternative Education Commissioning Service will investigate the matter.