A permanent exclusion is where a pupil is told they cannot come back to the school. This is also called being expelled. There are a number of things the school is legally required to do when a pupil is permanently excluded.

  1. The Head must write immediately explaining that the exclusion is permanent and giving the reason for the exclusion.
  2. The Head must inform the Governors and LA. If the pupil lives outside the local authority in which the school is located, the head teacher must also advise the ‘home authority’ of the exclusion without delay.
  3. The Governors must meet within 15 days of receiving the notice of exclusion (NB if the exclusion will result in the pupil missing an external or National Curriculum exam they must take reasonable steps to meet before the date of the exam) and parents have the right to attend.
  4. Parents have the right to make ‘written representations’ which must be considered by governors (see our advice on preparing written representations for more information).
  5. LAs are required to arrange educational provision for excluded pupils of compulsory school age from all institutions from the sixth day of a permanent exclusion.
  6. Where parents (or the excluded pupil if aged 18 or over) dispute the decision of a governing body not to reinstate a permanently excluded pupil, they can ask for this decision to be reviewed by an independent review panel (see below for an explanation of how this works).
  7. The school or LA may ask parent to sign a Parenting Contract or apply to Magistrates’ Court for a Parenting Order.

What is an independent review panel?

Where parents dispute the decision of a governing board not to reinstate a permanently excluded pupil, they can ask for this decision to be reviewed by an independent review panel. An independent review panel does not have the power to direct a governing board to reinstate an excluded pupil. However, where a panel decides that a governing board’s decision is flawed when considered in the light of the principles applicable on an application for judicial review, it can direct a governing board to reconsider its decision.

Whether or not a school recognises a pupil as having SEN, all parents have the right to request the presence of an SEN expert at a review meeting. The SEN expert’s role is to advise the review panel, impartially, of the relevance of SEN in the context and circumstances of the review. For example, they may advise whether the school acted reasonably in relation to its legal duties when excluding the pupil.

Entitlement to alternative education

For permanent exclusions, it is the local authority (and not the school) which must arrange suitable full-time education for the pupil to begin no later than the sixth day of the exclusion. This will be the pupil's ‘home authority’ in cases where the school is maintained by (or located within) a different local authority.

‘Full-time’ means supervised education equivalent to that provided by mainstream schools.

You can find further advice on what you should do if your child is excluded, including ensuring alternative education is provided, here.