Questions and answers
What does a fixed period exclusion (FEX) mean?
The headteacher has decided that because of your child's behaviour he/she cannot attend school for a defined period as a punishment. You should be notified of this exclusion in writing as well as being told either on the phone or in person.
Do I have any say in the matter?
You can of course discuss the decision with the head teacher. The governing body must consider anything you want to say but the rules vary according to how long the exclusion lasts.
One to five days in a term (add all the days together if more than one exclusion) - The governors must consider anything you wish to say and may meet you. They cannot reinstate your child (i.e. overturn the exclusion) but might put a note on file if they did not agree with the exclusion. There is no time limit but it should be reasonably prompt.
Six to 15 days - The governors must meet between day six and day 50 after the exclusion, if you request a meeting. The governors can either uphold the exclusion or reinstate your child. If the exclusion has already ended when the governors consider it, and the governors do not uphold it, they will record this on the pupils file.
More than 15 days - The governors must meet between day six and day 15 whether you request it or not. You will be invited to the meeting. The governors will either uphold or overturn the exclusion.
I’ve been asked to take my child home or keep them off school but no exclusion has been issued – Is that ok?
No, a pupil can only be sent home if they are formally excluded for a disciplinary reason. Pupils cannot be sent home for any other reason e.g. because they need to cool off, or because they are not coping well with a particular activity, unless you are advised that they are medically unwell in which case it would be appropriate for you to take them home.
In some exceptional cases, schools and parents may agree a short period of reduced hours provision where a pupil attends for a part of the school day to support their reintegration into full-time provision. This can only occur for a short time, with the agreement of parents and must be reported to the local authority by the school.
If you are concerned that your child is being sent home from school unlawfully, you can contact the Exclusion and Reintegration Team or seek legal advice from The Children’s Legal Centre. They aim to provide free legal advice and information to parents on state education matters. They can be contacted on 0808 802 0008 or at http://www.childrenslegalcentre.com/. The advice line is open from 8am – 8 pm Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays and 24th December to 1st January.
What happens to my child's education during a fixed period exclusion of up to five days?
For the first five days of any exclusion, you are responsible for your child's supervision during school hours. You must ensure that he/she is not present in a public place during school hours without good reason. You are liable to a penalty notice (a fine) if your child is found without good cause.
What about schoolwork?
The school is responsible for setting and marking work during this period and you may be asked to collect and deliver it for marking.
What happens if the fixed period exclusion is longer than five days?
The school is responsible for making full time provision beyond five days. This may under some circumstances be on the school site.
What does "full time provision" mean?
It means taught provision of between 21 and 25 hours depending on your child's age. It cannot be work sent home.
The letter I received refers to a "reintegration interview". What is this?
A reintegration interview is intended to help your child return to school successfully. The headteacher must arrange an interview for any pupil excluded from a primary school, or for a pupil excluded for more than six days from a secondary school. The headteacher may arrange an interview for a secondary pupil excluded for fewer than six days.
When will the interviews take place and who must attend?
The interview must be arranged between days one and 15 of the start of the fixed period exclusion. The headteacher or a senior member of staff will attend and at least one parent or carer is expected to attend. Your child will usually attend part or all of the interview.
I cannot attend on the day the school has set the interview
The school should as far as possible try to arrange the interview at a time and date convenient to you and the school.
What will happen if I do not attend?
The exclusion cannot be extended, but it may make a successful return for your child more difficult. Additionally, your failure to attend will be recorded and could be considered if the school or Local Authority applies to a magistrate's court for a Parenting Order.
What if I do not cooperate with the exclusion?
The school will consider your child's safety in deciding what action to take. This will depend on his/her age and ability. However, in some circumstances Police or Community Support Officers or Social Care could become involved, and if you continue not to cooperate, the school or Local Authority might apply for a Parenting Order.
Can I get help with dealing with my child's behaviour?
If you feel that the relationship between you and your child is breaking down, and that you are losing control over him or her, the Oxfordshire Parent-Talk programme can give you support with your parenting and some fresh ideas for dealing with challenging behaviour. You can ask a GP, health visitor, school or social services to refer you to Parent-Talk. Once Parent-Talk receives the referral, someone will ring you and you can discuss your child's behaviour with them.
My child has special educational needs (SEN), does that make a difference and where can I get advice?
If your child has Special Educational Needs, you may feel that the school should have provided more support which might have averted some of the difficulties, or that the school is discriminating against your child and excluding them because of their disability or that the disability was a contributing factor.
Exclusions should be the last resort for a pupil with SEN. Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) disabled children should not be excluded for reasons connected to their disability. E.g. a pupil with Tourette's Syndrome should not be excluded for swearing. Advice and information.
If your child has Special Educational Needs it might be helpful for the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) to be at some meetings.
These meetings can be a very difficult time for parents and you can take someone you know to support you at the meeting, ask SENDIASS for help and advice.