3. Permanent exclusion

A head teacher can only permanently exclude a pupil for disciplinary reasons and a decision can only be taken if the pupil is found to be in serious breach of the school’s behavioural policies and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

A permanent exclusion is when a pupil is removed from the school permanently and taken off the school roll. However they must remain on the Admissions Register until the parents/carers have been through, or declined to go through, the independent review process that they are entitled to request.

A permanent exclusion from school is the last sanction available to a head teacher when, after appropriate investigation, they believe that a pupil has seriously breached the School Discipline Policy.

A permanent exclusion means that unless the governors of the school direct otherwise your child will not be allowed to return to the school.

Permanent exclusion is not a step that head teachers take lightly and they will have made the decision based on the facts that:

  • It is in response to a serious breach of the school’s discipline policy
  • Allowing your child to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of your child or of others in the school
  • A range of alternative strategies have been tried and have failed.

A formal process has to be followed in the event of a permanent exclusion, and strict timescales are set by the Government for the various parts of the process.

How will you know if your child has been excluded?

You will receive an exclusion notification letter from the head teacher of the school that explains:

  • Reason for the exclusion
  • Making representations to the Governors' Discipline Committee

You should also be contacted by phone.

Making representations to the Governors’ Discipline Committee

You may write to the Governors’ Discipline Committee or attend a meeting to give your views on the exclusion (or you may do both).

Ask the school for contact details.

The meeting must take place within 15 school days after receipt of the exclusion notification letter.

Governors’ Discipline Committee meetings:


  • At least 3 governors (to decide if the exclusion was appropriate)
  • A clerk (to take notes)

Invited to attend:

  • You
  • The head teacher
  • A representative of the Local Authority.

You may take someone with you for support (including legal representation), but let the school know in advance.

Governors’ decision:

The governors' decision will be sent to you within one school day.

Governors are not allowed to attach conditions to the decision.

The governors will do one of the following:

  • Reinstate your child
  • Uphold the head teacher’s decision to permanently exclude.

If your child is reinstated the school will arrange the return to school.

If the head teacher’s decision is upheld, you will be told of your right to request an Independent Review Panel.

Independent Review Panel

You have 15 school days from the date you receive the letter from the governing body to request a review.

If you decide you want the case reviewed you must let the clerk to the Independent Review Panel know in writing within the 15 school days, or your review will not be considered.

The Independent Review Panel has 3 members and will be able to make the following decisions:

  • Uphold the exclusion
  • Recommend the exclusion be reconsidered
  • Quash the decision to exclude and direct reconsideration.

A Parent’s Guide to Independent Review Panels will be sent to you.

Education during permanent exclusion

The first 5 days:

You must make sure your child stays at home during school hours.

The school will arrange for some work for your child. You must make sure the work is completed and returned. The work will be marked and more work provided.

From day 6:

From day 6 the Local Authority have a legal duty to provide your child with suitable full-time education.

If the governors decide to uphold the exclusion, the Local Authority will continue to provide full-time education for your child.

Public examinations

If your child would miss a public examination, the Governors' Discipline Committee should meet before the date of the examination.

Contact the school if this is the case.

Children with Special Educational Needs

Head teachers should consider a pupil’s Special Educational Needs when reaching the decision to exclude.

Support for parents of pupils with Special Educational Needs is available from SEND IASS.