How we help Get support Exclusion from school Informal exclusions Informal exclusions No child should be excluded for an indefinite period, or for a non-disciplinary reason, or without formal notice in writing from the head. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be formally recorded. The statutory guidance ‘Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England’ confirms (at paragraph 14) that ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions, such as sending pupils home ‘to cool off’, are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. This includes children who are below compulsory school age (those under 5), and young people who are above compulsory school age (those in sixth form). The decision to exclude a pupil must be lawful, reasonable and fair. Schools have a statutory duty not to discriminate against pupils on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability or race (see the page on disability discrimination and exclusions for more information). Schools should give particular consideration to the fair treatment of pupils from groups who are vulnerable to exclusion. Only the head teacher has the power to exclude and it must be on disciplinary grounds. If the head makes an informal exclusion ‘formal’, parents must be notified in writing of their rights, including that of making written representations (see our advice on preparing written representations for more information). Part time timetables The statutory guidance on “School Attendance” (August 2020) states that, as a rule, schools cannot place children of compulsory school age on a part-time timetable, save in exceptional circumstances to meet a pupil’s individual needs. A part-time timetable must not be treated as a long-term solution, should be treated as part of a reintegration package, and should be time-limited. A part-time timetable may sometimes be discriminatory, but this will depend on whether it is a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate aim that the school may have in implementing it (see (RD and GD v The Proprietor of Horizon Primary (Responsible Body) (SEN):  UKUT 278 (AAC)). If you believe your child has been unlawfully excluded from school, you should make a complaint to the school governors. 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.