The steps we explain on this page only relate to pupils at maintained schools, Academy schools (not 16-19 Academies or 16-19 free schools), alternative provision Academies, and pupil referral units. If your child attends a different setting, please see our information on exclusion from those different settings.

A permanent exclusion (sometimes the word “expulsion” or “expelled” is used) is where a pupil is told they cannot come back to the school. Remember, a school should only take this decision in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school's behaviour policy and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others such as staff or pupils in the school.

There are a number of things the school must do when a pupil is permanently excluded.

1. Notification by the Head

The Head must tell:

  • you as the parent (initially by phone or in person) why your child has been excluded and for how long. This must be done without delay
  • the local authority (LA) about the exclusion or suspension, again without delay
  • the Governors, and
  • if the pupil is a looked after child, the Head must tell the Virtual School Head and if the pupil has a social worker, the Head must tell the social worker about the exclusion/suspension – in both cases, without delay.

2. Written confirmation

Then the Head must write to you to confirm that your child has been excluded  and why, and also explain that you have right to say what you think about the exclusion (this is called making representations) and how to do this. This information may be sent to you by email, but only if you agree to it.

3. Representations

You should put your views and comments on the exclusion in writing.  These representations must be considered by governors (see our advice on preparing written representations).

4. Education

School must take reasonable steps to set and mark work for the first five days of a period of exclusion/suspension.

If your child is of compulsory school age, then your LA (the area where your child lives) must arrange suitable, full-time education for them from the sixth day of a permanent exclusion. ‘Full-time’ means supervised education equivalent to that provided by mainstream schools.

This provision must begin no later than the sixth day of the exclusion but it should try to start this provision as soon as possible. If the pupil is a looked after child, schools and local authorities should work together to arrange alternative provision from the first day following the exclusion.

All work provided should be something that can be done by your child outside of school.

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

5. Governor meeting

The Governors must meet within 15 days of receiving the notice of the exclusion to consider it. However, if the exclusion will mean your child will miss an external or National Curriculum exam they must take reasonable steps to meet before the exam.

You have the right to attend this meeting. You can also have someone to represent you at the meeting (such as an advisor from the local Information Advice and Support Service or a solicitor) and can bring a friend.

For exclusions taking place from 1 September 2023, you can ask for this meeting to be held remotely and you should be told how to ask for this. For exclusions taking place before 1 September 2023, there is no right to ask for a remote meeting, but you could still ask for it if you need it to be held remotely.

Following the Governor meeting, the governing body must tell you its decision (and the reasons for it) in writing and without delay.

The governing body will decide whether your child should be reinstated. This means it will look at the decision the Head made and decide whether the Head should have made it. It may decide not to reinstate your child – this means it considers the decision to permanently exclude your child was lawful, reasonable, and procedurally fair.

6. Independent Review Panel

If the governing body makes a decision not to reinstate a pupil and you as the parent or as the excluded pupil if aged 18 or over disagree, you can ask for this decision to be reviewed by an independent review panel (IRP).

An IRP cannot make a governing body reinstate an excluded pupil. However, where an IRP decides that a governing body’s decision is flawed (faulty), it can tell the governing body to reconsider its decision.

SEN expert

Whether or not the school recognises your child as having SEN, you can ask for an SEN expert to attend the review meeting.

The SEN expert’s role is to tell the review panel how SEN may be relevant in the context and circumstances of the review. They will act independently, so they will not be on either your or school’s side – they are there to help the panel understand if and how SEN may be relevant. For example, they can say whether the school followed its legal duties when excluding the pupil.

You can find further advice on what to do if your child is excluded on our website.