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Exclusion of pupils

Headteachers can exclude your child if they misbehave in or outside school.

Your child's school will let you know about an exclusion as soon as possible. They'll follow up with a letter telling you how long your child is excluded for and why. They will also arrange an interview with you during or after the exclusion.

There are two types of exclusion: fixed term and permanent.

Fixed term exclusion

A fixed period exclusion is where your child is temporarily removed from school. They can only be removed for up to 45 school days in one school year, even if they've changed school.

The number of days refers to school days and does not include weekends or holidays.

Schools should set and mark work for the first five school days. During this time you must make sure that your child is not found in a public place during normal school hours unless there is a good reason. You could get a fine if your child is found in a public place when they're not supposed to be.

If the exclusion is longer than five school days, the school must arrange suitable full-time education from the sixth school day.

How to challenge a fixed-term exclusion

The exclusion letter you get from school will explain what to do if you disagree with the exclusion.

You can ask the school's governing body to overturn the exclusion if either:

  • your child has been excluded for more than five days
  • the exclusion means they'll miss a public exam or national curriculum test

If the exclusion is for 5 days or less, you can still ask the school's governing body to hear your views but they can't overturn the headteacher's decision. In some cases your child may already be back in school when you meet the governors, but the meeting will give you the chance to discuss the matter further.

Permanent exclusion

Permanent exclusion means your child is expelled and cannot return to the school unless reinstated. We will arrange suitable education from the sixth school day.

How to challenge a permanent exclusion

The exclusion letter you get from school will explain what to do if you disagree with the exclusion.

You'll be invited to a review meeting with the school's governors. This will happen within 15 school days. You will be told about the outcome of the meeting by letter within one school day of the meeting.

If the governors don't overturn the exclusion, you can ask us for an independent review (or academy trust if the school's an academy). The governors must tell you how to do this. If your child is still excluded you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (or the Education Funding Agency if the school's an academy or free school) to look at whether your case was handled properly. They can't overturn the exclusion.

Contact us
Inclusion and Alternative Provision Coordinator
03000 265 903
Our address is:
  • Children and Young People's Services
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ

School attendance (legal action enquiries)
03000 265 526/527