Permanent Exclusion

Permanent Exclusion

Permanent exclusion is the most serious sanction a school can give if a child does something that is against the school’s behaviour policy (the school rules). It means that the child is no longer allowed to attend the school and their name will be removed from the school roll. Permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort.

Understanding the decision to exclude

There are guidelines about what should be taken into account before excluding a child. This section will help you understand a bit more about exclusions and the process that should be followed

Who can exclude?

Only the headteacher has the power to exclude your child. Other members of staff such as heads of year cannot exclude, though they may provide information to support the head’s decision.

Reasons for exclusion

All exclusions must be for disciplinary reasons only. All schools must have a behaviour policy setting out what the school rules are and this must be published on the school website. Schools vary in what they will permanently exclude for. However permanent exclusion should only happen:

  • in response to a serious one-off 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 in the school

In practice this means that there are two likely scenarios for a permanent exclusion

  • your child has had a history of persistent disruptive behaviour and the school feel they cannot do anymore.
  • your child has committed a single serious one-off offence, even if they have never been in trouble before. That might be something like assaulting a pupil or member of staff or bringing a knife or drugs into school. However it is up to each school to define what counts as a serious offence.

Standard of proof

The head’s decision to exclude must be taken on the ‘balance of probabilities’. That means that it is more likely than not that the pupil did what they are accused of. This is not the same as the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard required in a criminal case.

When exclusion is not allowed

It is unlawful to extend or lengthen an exclusion for a non-disciplinary reason such as:

  • if your child has special educational needs and the school say it can’t meet those needs. It should look at