School Exclusion in England

Children with SEN and/or disabilities are much more likely to be excluded from school than their class mates. At the bottom of this page you will find links to our range of resources about exclusion. You can read our exclusion FAQs here.  

There are only two types of exclusion which are lawful: permanent and fixed-period. Only the head teacher of a school (or the teacher in charge of a pupil referral unit or the principal of an academy) can exclude a pupil.

This means that legally a child is either in school full-time or they are excluded from school. Legally they can be excluded for a fixed term (for a specific number of school days) or permanently excluded (unable to return to that school unless the parent or young person can overturn the exclusion on appeal).

‘Informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions, such as sending pupils home to cool off, are all unlawful regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Too many children and young people with SEN and disabilities are excluded illegally. This can occur when parents are asked to take or keep them at home from school without proper notification that it is an exclusion. This commonly includes picking them up from school early, at lunchtime, not coming in on certain days, or only being in school on a part-time timetable.

Any exclusion of a pupil, even for a short period of time, must be formally recorded.

Follow the links below for more information and support:

IPSEA mailing list

Click here to join our mailing list so that we can send you relevant updates and information.

Information service

This service provides information on the law and what it allows you to do.  Click here to fill in our Information Service form - one of our advisers will send you a reply by email.

Advice Line

Our Advice Line gives free and independent legally based SEN advice. For our Advice Line number and information about booking an Advice Line call, please click here.

Tribunal Helpline

Our Tribunal Helpline gives free and independent legally based advice about appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. Find the number or book a call by clicking here.

IPSEA training

IPSEA provides a wide range of SEN training for Parents, School Staff, Parent Forums, Support Groups, Local Authority SEN teams, Parent Partnership Schemes, School Governors and other groups / organisations. Click here for details.