If you can, give credit where it is due, even if you are angry:

  • For example, find something positive to say early on in your written statement, e.g.:

“We have been impressed with the help Matthew has received from his class teacher.”


But also make clear why you believe the exclusion was unfair:

  • For example, if the school is aware of Matthew’s difficulties, point this out, e.g.:

“We have explained that all staff should be aware of Matthew’s special needs.”

  • If you can, give a positive example of how the exclusion might have been avoided, e.g.:

“It would have helped if he had been allowed time to calm down. He reacts badly to orders when he is agitated so ordering him immediately to say ‘sorry’ and shake hands with the pupil who had been taunting him was not the best way to handle him.”


Refer to the statutory guidance ‘Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England:

  • For example quote what the guidance says about exclusions being lawful reasonable and fair:

“The guidance says that the decision to exclude a pupil must be lawful, reasonable and fair. Given that Matthew did not pose a threat to anyone or to himself, we ask whether or not it was reasonable and fair to exclude him.”

  • It is also helpful to mention what the guidance says about groups who are vulnerable to exclusion:

“The guidance also says that schools should give particular consideration to the fair treatment of pupils from groups who are vulnerable to exclusion.  Matthew has special educational needs and that means he is from a group which is vulnerable to exclusion. It seems to us that Matthew was excluded without this guidance being considered.”


If appropriate refer to the Equality Act:

“It seems to us that Matthew’s exclusion arose from his disability and was not a proportionate way of dealing with the situation and that there were ‘reasonable steps’ which could have been taken to avoid the exclusion. For these reasons, the exclusion might have constituted ‘disability discrimination’ under the Equality Act 2010.  However, rather than going down the legal route, we would much prefer to try to work with the school in order to obtain the right kind and amount of provision to support the school in meeting Matthew’s needs. For example, Matthew does not have an EHC plan and we would very much welcome the school’s support with our application to the LA for an EHC needs assessment.”