If you believe that your child has been excluded as a result of their special educational needs not being met, there are a number of steps you can take.

  1. Ask for your child to be assessed for SEN Support (for details on what SEN Support looks like, see our FAQs on how your school should help).
  2. If your child is already receiving SEN Support, ask for an urgent review of this support. If you are concerned they have not been receiving the support agreed, ask to see the educational record.
  3. Check the school’s SEN information report (this is about SEN provision the school says it provides, and should be on the school’s website). See whether there is anything else which could help your child, which the school is able to provide.
  4. If you believe the school could be doing more, complain to Governors that their duties under section 66 of the Children and Families Act 2014 have not been fulfilled – this is the duty to use their best endeavours to ensure that children with special needs receive provision to meet their needs. (You can find out more information about this duty here.)
  5. If you believe your child needs more support to meet their SEN than the school can provide, you may wish to request an EHC needs assessment.
  6. You may consider that a change of school is necessary – see the section on choosing a school without an EHC plan for more information.
  7. Read the relevant sections of the statutory guidance ‘Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England’. In particular, if your child has been given a fixed-term exclusion, check paragraphs 13,19 and 22, which consider the steps a school should take to support your child. If your child has been given a permanent exclusion, check paragraphs 75 and 76, which sets out the matters of which you must be notified by the governing body.
  8. If your child has been permanently excluded, consider whether you want to use your right to have a SEN expert present at the independent review panel (see the section on permanent exclusions for more information).
  9. If your child has been excluded for more than 5 days, they are entitled to alternative education. You should ensure this education is provided – see below for more details.
  10. You should also note that during the first 5 days of any exclusion a parent must ensure that the child is not present in a public place during school hours without reasonable justification. Parents can be given a fixed penalty notice of £50 if they fail to do this.


How can I ensure alternative education is provided?

For a fixed-term exclusion of more than five school days, or a permanent exclusion, the pupil must be provided with suitable alternative education.

The duty to provide ‘suitable’ education means that there is a duty to make provision which will meet your child’s special educational needs.

For a fixed-term exclusion, the governing body of the school is obliged to provided alternative education. You should ask for this to include SEN Support if your child does not already have this.

For a permanent exclusion, it is the local authority (“LA”) who must provide the alternative education. You should write to the Director of Children’s Services at your LA as soon as you learn that your child has been permanently excluded, telling them that you expect full time provision to be made. You should be able to find the Director’s details on your LA website.

In your letter or email, you should set out:

  • the date by which the LA will have a duty to provide full-time education for your child (i.e. from the sixth school day after the exclusion)
  • your child’s age
  • details of your child’s special educational needs and of the provision which will be required in order for the alternative education provision to be ‘suitable’.

Keep a copy of your letter so you have a record of your contact with the LA.


If you haven’t been able to find the answer to your question on this page, you can book an appointment to speak with us.