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Permanent exclusion

What happens if a child is permanently excluded from school, and where to go for advice.

A permanent exclusion is when a headteacher decides that a pupil's behaviour, over a period of time, or a one-off serious incident, is in breach of the school’s behaviour policy and if he/she remains in the school it would seriously harm the education or welfare of others in the school. Permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted and where reasonable adjustments have been made and tested to meet a pupil’s educational and wider needs

Do I as a parent/carer have any say in the matter?

The governors of the school must meet within 15 school days of the head teacher's decision to consider whether they uphold the original decision. Parents/carers have the right to go to this meeting and "make representations", i.e. tell the governors their views and those of their child. This is important if you feel that the school has not offered your child adequate support around their behaviour, personal circumstances, and/or their Special Educational Needs or has not treated him/her fairly. All parties should receive an electronic/paper pack of evidence supporting the head teacher’s decision five school days ahead of the meeting.

What happens at the governors' meeting?

The governors will listen carefully to all information presented and will decide either to uphold the exclusion or overturn it.

If they uphold the decision to exclude, what happens to my child's education?

The Local Authority will work with you to find another school. An Exclusion and Reintegration Officer will talk with you about this. If your child has an Education Health & Care Plan, a SEN Officer will lead with seeking alternative education that meets the needs of your child as laid out in their EHCP. In some circumstances, it may not be practical or beneficial to return to mainstream learning and your child may be offered an alternative style of education through a mainstream school or be offered a place at Meadowbrook College or another Alternative Provider which has been quality checked and commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council.

What happens to my child's education in the meantime before the governors meet?

For days one to five inclusive, the school will set work to be done at home. You as a parent/carer are responsible for keeping her/him out of public places during school time. If he/she is found in a public place, you may be liable to a penalty notice and a fine.

From day six the Local Authority will provide the equivalent of full-time education for your child through an alternative provider. An Exclusion and Reintegration Officer will discuss this with you, alongside a Special Educational Needs Officer if your child has an EHCP.

What can I do if the governors uphold the exclusion and I disagree?

You have the right to request an Independent Review Panel (IRP) reviews the governors’ decision. As the name suggests the people on the panel will have no connection with the school. You will be given details of how to request a review in your letter from the governors confirming the exclusion. Please take careful note of the time limit (15 school days after you receive the letter, taken as two days after it was posted) as once this date has passed you lose your right to review.

Can I bring a friend or supporter to the governor meeting or the Independent Review?

You can bring a friend or supporter who may speak for you if you do not want to do so yourself, or can just be there to give you support.

Can my child attend either of the meetings?

Schools should always allow your child to attend and to speak if he/she is old enough and able to do so. Students over the age of 18 have the right to represent themselves.

If the exclusion is upheld how do I find another school?

The Exclusions and Reintegration Officer (and Special Educational Needs Officer if your child has an EHCP) from Oxfordshire County Council will discuss this with you and will identify a new school. You can express a preference for a particular school but a place there cannot be guaranteed. The Local Authority operates a "fair access" system of identifying school places for permanently excluded pupils. The Exclusion & Reintegration Officer will discuss this process with you.

What happens if my child has to travel a distance to the new school?

If it is the school allocated by the Local Authority and the distance is considered beyond ‘reasonable’  the Local Authority will pay for transport, usually a bus pass. If the school is one you chose outside the Local Authority's fair access arrangements, you will be responsible for getting your child to and from the school

How long will it take to get my child a new school?

The Local Authority will try to do this as quickly as possible. Generally, it takes about four to eight weeks, but that will depend on when the governors' committee can meet and how ready your child is for admission to a second school.

Is there someone at the Local Authority I can talk to about the exclusion?

An Exclusion and Reintegration Officer from the Local Authority will contact you with regard to any exclusion. You will be sent a letter from the school which will include important information about who you can contact for support.

Is there anyone else who might give me advice?

If your child has special educational needs, you may wish to seek assistance from SENDIASS by contacting them.  You could also contact ACE (Advisory Centre for Education) exclusions helpline or The Children’s Legal Centre.

My child has special educational needs (SEN), does that make a difference in how the school deals with suspending or excluding them?

If your child is identified as needing SEN Support,  the school should consider the effectiveness of the current provision before any suspensions or permanent exclusion. If your child has an EHCP, an emergency annual review must be held before the school considers a permanent exclusion.