Impartial advice around exclusions

For children and young people at risk of exclusion, and their parents/carers

16431---Sendiass-Logo-Final.pngWelcome to SENDIASS, we are an impartial information, advice and support service for SEN related issues. Statistics show that a disproportionate number of children with SEN are at risk of exclusion.

You can talk to us in complete confidence and we will provide you with impartial information and advice to help you to decide next steps.

We can tell you what the law says and the responsibilities schools and the local authority have. You should find the answers to some of your questions below and you may also find it useful to have a look at some of the information we have within our other pages. 

Schools (includes academies, free schools and pupil referral units) may exclude a pupil for breaches of their behaviour policy. The exclusions may be for a given number of days known as a fixed-term exclusion, or it can be a permanent exclusion. You should be able to find a copy of the school's behaviour policy on their website.

The guidance for schools is available on the Department for Education web pages:

Read the Department for Education exclusions guidance for schools

Read the Department for Education behaviour and discipline guidance for governing bodies

There is also some really useful information for parents via Child Law Advice:

Read the school exclusion information from Child Law Advice

Exclusions may only be given by the Head Teacher who also has a duty to notify parents in writing and include the reason for the exclusion, the period of exclusion, parents rights to make representations to the governing body and how, and links to sources of impartial advice and information.

An exclusion can only be on disciplinary grounds and must be lawful. Schools must have regard to the SEND Code of Practice. Read also our information explaining support for children with Special Educational Needs, called SEN Support.

We offer advice and support around exclusions and can help you prepare to make your representations to the governing body and/or the Independent Review Panel.

Asking a parent to pick their child up at lunchtimes, early, sending a child home to 'cool off' or recommending a parent moves their child to another school or to home educate are unlawful practices.

Parents should not feel pressured into removing their child from school because of a threat of exclusion. Parents can contact the local authority about this by emailing unofficialexclusions@suffolk.gov.uk or by contacting a 'Local Offer Broker' (see below) directly. You can also talk to us confidentially at Sendiass on 01473 265210.

Children have the right to a full-time education, and as such reduced timetables are unlawful, however, a reduced timetable can be an effective temporary measure to support some children with complex needs. There should be a plan to support an increase to full-time, regular reviews and only with parental agreement and involvement of appropriate services.

Where a Suffolk school (including Academies and Free schools) believe a child is at risk of exclusion they are expected to make a referral to the 'In Year Fair Access Panel (IYFAP), held monthly across the county. This referral can only happen with parental permission and schools must discuss with parents and the young person about possible outcomes, examples include placement at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), a Managed Move to another school, involvement from an Educational Psychologist or Mental Health services.

Read the government guidance around Alternative Provision

Permanent exclusions should be a last resort particularly for children with Special Educational Needs and in other vulnerable groups.

There will of course be some instances, such as a serious breach of the behaviour policy, which may result in a permanent exclusion, and therefore not appropriate for an IYFAP referral.

The Head Teacher must immediately inform the governing body and the local authority* of a permanent exclusion; more than 5 days fixed-term exclusions in a term or where an exclusion results in a child missing an examination or national curriculum test.

The Code of Practice says 'Where a young person of compulsory school or participation age – i.e. under the age of 18 – is excluded from their education or training setting or leaves voluntarily, the local authority must not cease their EHC plan...the local authority must review the EHC plan and amend it as appropriate to ensure that the young person continues to receive education or training.' (9.202 2014 SEND Code of Practice & SEND Regulations 2014 regs 22 & 29 (2))

 *In Suffolk schools will liaise with the Local Offer Broker's, you can also contact them directly with any questions or concerns relating to exclusions, the IYFAP process and alternative provision. 

Read more about the Local Offer Team including how to contact them.

Further information

Contact us, SENDIASS on 01473 265210 or by email to sendiass@suffolk.gov.uk. We are an impartial information, advice and support service for children, young people and their parents/carers.

Read more about our impartiality

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