Page 2 of 13
These pages provide a guide to the legislation that govern the exclusion of pupils from: maintained schools, academy schools, Free Schools, alternative provision academies and pupil referral units in England since 1 September 2012.
It also provides statutory guidance to which headteachers, governing bodies, local authorities, academy trusts, independent review panel members, independent review panel clerks and special educational needs experts must have regard when carrying out their functions in relation to exclusions.
The phrase 'must have regard', when used in this context, does not mean that the sections of statutory guidance have to be followed in every detail, but that they should be followed unless there is a good reason not to in a particular case.
Where relevant, this document references other guidance in areas such as behaviour, special educational needs, and equality, but it is not intended to provide detailed guidance on these issues.
This document replaces Improving behaviour and attendance: guidance on exclusion for schools and pupil referral units (September 2008) for schools in England.
The principal legislation to which this guidance relates is:
The Education Act 2002, as amended by the Education Act 2011
The School Discipline (Pupil Exclusions and Reviews) (England) Regulations 2012
The Education and Inspections Act 2006
The Education (Provision of Full-Time Education for Excluded Pupils) (England) Regulations 2007.
Headteachers, governing bodies, local authorities, academy trusts, independent review panel members, independent review panel clerks, and individuals appointed as a special educational needs expert.
The term 'headteacher' in this guide applies equally to the teacher in charge at a pupil referral unit (PRU) and principals of academies.
The term 'governing body' applies to PRU management committees. In respect of academies, references to the 'governing body' should be read to mean the board of directors or the directors of the academy trust company.
Except where specifically stated, this guide applies to all: maintained schools; academy schools (including Free Schools but not 16-19 academies); alternative provision academies (including AP Free Schools); and PRUs. The term 'school' in this guide is used to describe any school to which the guidance applies. Where the term 'academy' is used, it refers to any category of academy to which the guidance applies.
Except in relation to pupils in PRUs, or where stated, the requirements of the guide apply in relation to all pupils, including those who may be below or above compulsory school age, such as those attending nursery classes or sixth forms.
This guide does not apply to: independent schools (other than the academies listed above); city technology colleges; city colleges for the technology of the arts; sixth form colleges; or 16-19 academies, all of which have separate exclusion procedures. Local authorities, however, are required to arrange educational provision for excluded pupils of compulsory school age from all institutions from the sixth day of a permanent exclusion.
The definition of a parent for the purposes of the Education Act is broadly drawn. In addition to the child's birth parents, references to parents in this guidance include any person who has parental responsibility (which includes the local authority where it has a care order in respect of the child) and any person (for example, a foster carer) with whom the child lives.
The exclusion regulations give clarity and certainty to schools, local authorities, academy trusts and review panels, in terms of how they discharge their obligations to parents. Obligations are to the "relevant person" – a parent or the pupil, where 18 or over. This guidance refers to "parents" throughout and where practicable it is expected that all those with parental responsibility should be engaged with the exclusions process.
Where a school's academic year consists of three terms or fewer, a reference to a 'term' in this guidance means one of those terms. Where a school's academic year consists of more than three terms, then a reference to 'term' means the period falling between: 31 December to Easter Monday; Easter Monday to 31 July; or 31 July to 31 December.
Page 2 of 13
This version of the guidance (published June 2012) makes a change to the previous version (published April 2012) to clarify that permanent exclusion may be warranted on the basis of a single serious breach of a school’s behaviour policy (see paragraph 15).
PDF, 244 Kb
Details of Chapter 32 of the 2002 Education Act.