School Exclusion in England

Children with SEN and/or disabilities are much more likely to be excluded from school than their class mates. At the bottom of this page you will find links to our range of resources about exclusion. You can read our exclusion FAQs here.  

There are only two types of exclusion which are lawful: permanent and fixed-period. Only the head teacher of a school (or the teacher in charge of a pupil referral unit or the principal of an academy) can exclude a pupil.

This means that legally a child is either in school full-time or they are excluded from school. Legally they can be excluded for a fixed term (for a specific number of school days) or permanently excluded (unable to return to that school unless the parent or young person can overturn the exclusion on appeal).

‘Informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions, such as sending pupils home to cool off, are all unlawful regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Too many children and young people with SEN and disabilities are excluded illegally. This can occur when parents are asked to take or keep them at home from school without proper notification that it is an exclusion. This commonly includes picking them up from school early, at lunchtime, not coming in on certain days, or only being in school on a part-time timetable.

Any exclusion of a pupil, even for a short period of time, must be formally recorded.

Follow the links below for more information and support:

IPSEA mailing list

Click here to join our mailing list so that we can send you relevant updates and information.

IPSEA training

IPSEA provides a wide range of SEN training for Parents, School Staff, Parent Forums, Support Groups, Local Authority SEN teams, Parent Partnership Schemes, School Governors and other groups / organisations. Click here for details.

Advice Line

This provides next step advice on: problems with schools, requesting statutory assessment, statements and Education, Health and Care Plans, annual reviews, disability discrimination and exclusion. Please click here to book an appointment to get one of our advisers to call you back.

Tribunal Helpline

Our Tribunal Helpline Gives next step advice on SEN appeals and disability discrimination claims to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. When you call we will also assess whether you need casework support. Please click here to book an appointment to get one of our advisers to call you back.

Information Service

The Information Service is for general legal enquiries and will signpost you to factsheets and resources on our website.  The Information Service cannot provide specific advice about individuals and their circumstances.

Face to Face Advice

IPSEA is now able to offer free and independent legally based SEN advice at Face to Face sessions organised in conjunction with the Pen Green Centre for children and families (

For information on how to book a session please click here.