Is your child at risk of being excluded from school, either for a few days, or permanently? This section will outline what types of exclusions schools use and understand what circumstances they can use them. Additionally, the section will highlight areas where exclusions are not allowed and will distinguish practices school are not allowed to us when attempting to exclude a child.


Exclusion from school is the formal term for when a student is no longer permitted to attend school on site full time. Reasons for being excluded can vary, but exclusions is generally considered to be a last resort. This page aims to let you know the facts about exclusion from school and what to do if your child’s school has been threatened with exclusion.

What sub-section are available on this page?

      • Types of School Exclusions
      • Alternatives to Exclusion
      • Unfair or Unlawful Practices

Types of School Exclusions

There are various types of exclusions, with many not being straight forward. Some uses of exclusions are legal and can be used fairly, however others are strictly unlawful and should never be used.

The types of exclusions covered in this section are:

    • Fixed-Term Exclusion
    • Permanent Exclusion (PEX)
    • Internal Exclusions
    • Informal Exclusions
    • Part-Time Timetables
    • Alternative Provision Placement
    • Managed Move In-Year
    • Off-Rolling
    • Elective Home Education

Fixed-Term Exclusion

Definition: A fixed period exclusion is when your child is excluded from school temporarily, this can include a half day exclusion.

How It Works: A child cannot be temporarily excluded for more than 15 days in a term, or forty-five days in a year, even if a child changes school mid-year. The child is still on roll at the school during this time. A child can be excluded for any breach of a school’s behaviour policy where a fixed period exclusion is seen as an appropriate level of sanction.

What Must Happen: When a child is temporarily excluded, the headteacher must inform parents of the reason(s) the child is being temporarily excluded and the period of exclusion. If your child is excluded for five days or less, the school should provide and mark work. If you child is excluded for more than five days, the school should provide and mark work for the first five days, and then provide suitable full-time education for the remaining number of days after that time.

Permanent Exclusion

Definition: A permanent exclusion is when a child is removed permanently from a school.

How It Works: The child will be taken off the school roll and parents will need to work with the local authority to establish a new school for the child. Parents can seek to persuade the Headteacher to withdraw the exclusion, or the Governors not to agree to it. They can also ask an Independent Review Panel to review the decision of Governors.

What Must Happen: Permanent exclusion should be used as a last resort, so it is a process that should not be taken lightly. A child can only be permanently excluded for disciplinary reasons. They cannot be excluded for academic reasons or because their attendance is low. A decision to be exclude can only be taken for persistent breaches or if a child is found to be in serious breach of the school’s behaviour policies and them staying would harm the welfare or education of the child or of other children at the school. The child should remain on the admissions roll until the parents have gone through or declined the independent review panel. Finally, on the sixth school day after the permanent exclusion, the local authority must provide full time education.

Alternatives to Exclusion

Internal Exclusions

Definition: Internal exclusion refers to a sanction where students are isolated from the rest of their class/school. This can include being moved to a different classroom or booth. A school’s use and definition of internal exclusion can be found in their behaviour policy. This should be for a limited period and no longer than is necessary.

How It Works: School staff have the right to place a child in internal exclusion for any reason they deem appropriate. Parents should be notified if this is going to happen, however this isn’t always possible if the placement is immediate.

What Must Happen: Isolating children (whether in a room or booth) should only be used for the shortest possible period to give them time to calm down and reflect. However, this isn’t always the case, with many schools reporting using these rooms to punish children for low-level disruption or misconduct, such as forgetting to bring an exercise book to school. The school has a duty to ensure a child’s welfare, health, and safety is always put first over sanctions for behaviour. If the child’s mental health or education is being harmed by repeated isolation, advice should be sought. Please see our Education Advocacy section for more information.

Informal Exclusions

Definition: Informal or unofficial exclusions are those not officially recorded by the school.

How It Works: An example of this is a child being sent home to ‘cool off’.

What Must Happen: This type of exclusion is always unlawful and should never happen.

Part-Time Timetables

Definition: A part-time timetable is when a child is asked to attend school for only part of the day or week.

How It Works: Part-time timetables should always be assessed to be appropriate, as a child on this timetable will miss a significant part of their learning, so the positives must outweigh the risks. Parents and families should be involved in the decision-making process and should be asked for their consent for their child to change their timetable in this way. If a child is on a part-time timetable, they should be marked as having an authorised absence for the time they are not at school.

What Must Happen: Schools should not place children on part-time timetables, except in very exceptional circumstances to meet a child’s individual need (usually a medical need). A part-time timetable should be part of a re-integration into school rather than a tool to exclude from school. If they are on a part-time timetable and you wish to them to be full time and the school does not agree you should seek advice.

Alternative Provision (AP)

Definition: This is when a child is referred to another educational setting for part or all, or part of their education with the purpose of improving their behaviour. AP’s vary in specialism, with some AP’s being designed for children with complex special education needs and disabilities, and some AP’s who work exclusively with children who display behavioural problems.

How It Works: Schools must ensure that parents are given clear information about this including why the child is being sent there, for how long and how it will be reviewed periodically. We are aware that some placements are not reviewed, meaning children remain in AP’s longer than necessary, having detrimental impacts on their education and attainment. If this is happening to you seek advice.

What Must Happen: Schools must gain parental consent before placing a child at an AP school. This decision must always be in the best interest of the child, and not because staff ‘want a break’. Providing limited alternative provision, for example, one day a week and not allowing the children to be at school the rest of the time is unlawful, and advice should always be sought.

Managed Moves

Definition: A managed move refers to a voluntary agreement between a child’s current school, their parents, and a prospective new school for a child to move to the new school.

How It Works: When a school is concerned that they are unable to support child as effectively as another school, or if the child is struggling socially or is severely distracted by their social group, a managed move can be considered to give a child some time and space in a new setting to settle down. Sometimes managed moves are permanent if the child fits in well and behaviour improves. However, the prospective new school has the right to end the managed move should their efforts not lead to improvements.

What Must Happen: Schools must gain parental consent before undertaking a managed move. This decision must always be in the best interest of the child, and not because staff ‘want a break’. Threat of exclusion should not be used to encourage parents to agree to a managed move.


Unfair or Unlawful Practices

Off Rolling

Definition: Off-rolling is an unlawful practice, which involves removing a child from the school roll in the perceived interests of the school rather than the child. It also includes persuading a parent to agree to educate their child electively home when it is not in the interests of the child. Any form of off-rolling is strictly unlawful. Advice should be sought if your child is at risk of off-rolling or if you are being pressured to withdraw your child from school or electively home educate your child.

Elective Home Education

Definition: Parents have a legal right to home education their children, however schools should not encourage parents to educate electively home. If there are difficulties, they should provide children with the additional support they need.

Latest News & Information