MYTH: Sending a child home to ‘cool-off’ is not an exclusion

The law does not make any distinction between types of exclusion – children are either excluded or they are not.

Schools may use the term ‘cooling off period’ if a child is sent home due to their challenging behaviour or if they are not coping well in school. These situations can also be called ‘informal exclusions’.

If a child is sent home from school this should be seen as a formal exclusion and the proper procedures followed. This includes the right to appeal the exclusion. To find out more about these procedures read our Exclusion from school factsheet. Schools should not send a child home as a way of managing their behaviour and it is important that everyone involved talks about why this has happened.

If you think your child has been sent home but not excluded you can ask the school why your child was removed and ask that they follow the proper procedures. It might be useful to find out about the school and education authority policy on exclusions.

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Helpline: 0345 123 2303

Visit our website for children and young people