Headteachers may use exclusion as a way of managing the behaviour of pupils. It is also used as a way of giving clear messages to the pupil involved and the whole school community that certain kinds of behaviour are unacceptable.
Government guidance says that your child should only have been excluded:
- in response to serious or persistent breaches of the school’s behaviour policy and
- where allowing him or her to remain in school would seriously harm the education and welfare of your child or others in the school
Government Guidance is contained in a document called Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and Pupil Referral Units in England.
The document states:
It is unlawful to exclude or to increase the severity of an exclusion for a non-disciplinary reason. For example, it would be unlawful to exclude a pupil simply because they have additional needs or a disability that the school feels it is unable to meet, or for a reason such as: academic attainment / ability; the action of a pupil’s parents; or the failure of a pupil to meet specific conditions before they are reinstated. Pupils who repeatedly disobey their teachers’ academic instructions could, however, be subject to exclusion
Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England. June 2012 paragraph 12.
Your child can be excluded for behaviour outside school if the headteacher feels that there is a clear link between that behaviour and maintaining good behaviour within the school.
Only headteachers (or the nominated member of staff in their absence) have the authority to exclude a pupil. The headteacher should not exclude your child in the heat of the moment, unless there was an immediate threat to the safety of your child or others in the school.
The headteacher may exclude your child if they feel that on 'the balance of probabilities’ they did what they are accused of. The more serious the behaviour your child is accused of, the stronger the evidence against them needs to be.
Before deciding to exclude your child the headteacher should:
- make sure that a thorough investigation has been carried out
- give your child a chance to say what happened
- think carefully about the evidence available
- ensure that the exclusion is for the shortest time necessary
- take into account the school's behaviour and equality policies and, if appropriate, the Race Relations Act and Disability Discrimination Act
check whether bullying or racial or sexual harassment of your child led to your child's actions
- if necessary consult others