My child has been excluded from school. What can I do?

Exclusion should not be used as a way to cope with a child’s additional support needs.

A school can only exclude a pupil for certain reasons:

  • The school thinks that order and discipline in the school and the education of the other pupils will be badly affected if your child continues to attend there.
  • The school thinks that you, the parents, have not followed the school’s rules and have allowed your child to break the school rules.

Schools must always state one of these as the reason for the exclusion.

On the day of the exclusion, the school must contact you, either in conversation or in writing, to tell you that your child has been excluded and to arrange a meeting within 7 days to discuss the exclusion.

Within 8 days of the exclusion, the school should write to tell you:

  • the reason your child was excluded.
  • any conditions for your child’s return to school (usually you and/or your child will have to sign an agreement before your child can return).
  • your rights to appeal against the exclusion.

Your child has the right to education when excluded and the education authority must arrange for alternative education. If your child is only excluded for a few days, they may not receive any teaching, but schoolwork may be sent home to be completed, and then returned to school for marking.

The letter from the school or education authority about the exclusion will tell you how you can appeal to the education appeal committee. When your child is excluded, details of the exclusion are entered on their school records, but if your appeal is successful, the record is changed and the details removed.

For further information please see Enquire factsheet 11 – Exclusion from School and our one page summary Steps-to-resolving-disagreements.


Last updated: 05/07/11

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