How Can I Help My Child Who Has Been Excluded From School?


  1. What is the difference between being excluded from school and being expelled?
  2. What does excluded from school mean?
  3. Can I challenge an exclusion from school?
  4. Can my child be excluded from school?
  5. How does a child get excluded from school?
  6. Can a child be excluded from a school trip?
  7. What are the effects of being excluded from school?
  8. My child has been excluded from school. How to get help?

If you’ve found this article then it’s likely that your child is having a turbulent time at school. Perhaps they’ve been excluded already, or exclusion from school has been threatened. You’re no doubt shocked that your child could be kicked out of school and don’t know where to turn. We’re here to go through what it means to be excluded from school in the UK and to give you advice if your teenager has been excluded from school.


What is the difference between being excluded from school and being expelled?


The following terms are often mixed up and used interchangeably, so it can be harder for parents to understand what is exclusion in school. We can clarify exactly the difference between being excluded and being expelled as the following.

There are two types of exclusion:

1. Temporary exclusion, also referred to as suspension, suspended exclusion or fixed period exclusion.

After a specified period of time, the child may return to the same school to continue their studies.
2. Permanent exclusion, also referred to as expelled.

The student may not return to study at the same school, an alternative school or education arrangements must be made.


What does excluded from school mean?


Maybe you are wondering “What does excluded mean in school?” Exclusions are decided by head teachers and can be a result of serious misbehaviour in school or outside of school.

If your child’s headteacher has decided to exclude your child, whether temporarily or permanently, the school needs to inform you as soon as they can in writing. 

Complaints against temporary exclusions can be made to the school. Whereas complaints regarding permanent exclusions need to be brought up with your local council. If you’re unhappy with the feedback from either the school or the local council, you can escalate your complaint to the Department of Education. 


Can I challenge an exclusion from school?


Perhaps you’re thinking “If a child is expelled from school now what ?”

You might disagree with a temporary or permanent exclusion and you’re permitted to challenge it. A follow-up letter from your child’s school must outline what you need to do if you disagree with the exclusion. You may have more leverage to challenge the exclusion if it’s temporary and would mean that your child might miss a national exam.

If the exclusion is permanent and you wish to challenge it, you can attend a meeting with the school governors who can overturn the exclusion.


Can my child be excluded from school?


Any child can be excluded from school if they display disruptive behaviour in or outside of school. 

Many parents ask “Can a school exclude a child with special needs ?” The answer is yes. 

Even if your child has Special Educational Needs that are known to the school, your child can still be excluded from school. This includes children with Autism and ADHD

Schools should always pay special attention as to whether exclusion for SEN children is the right route. 

Also note that children cannot be temporarily excluded from school for more than 45 days in an academic year. Your child also cannot be unofficially excluded. For instance if your child is sent home for a day or two ‘to calm down’, those days must be recorded officially as temporary exclusion.

If you think that your child’s exclusion, whether temporary or permanent was a result of discrimination. You must make a claim to a court within 6 months of the exclusion.


How does a child get excluded from school?


There’s no universal rule for how to get excluded from school. Behaviour that could exclude a child from one school, might not get them excluded from another school. Depending on each school's approach to discipline, behaviour policy, expectations of students and tolerance of disruption. 

A child won’t be excluded for having ‘an off-day’ at school or for being a serial chatterbox. If your child is experiencing big changes in their home life that could negatively impact their behaviour at school, be sure to inform their school so that any future incidents can be looked at through a more sympathetic lens.

The main reasons that children are excluded from school are for verbal abuse or violence against other children or adults, this could also be a one-off or more prolonged bullying. Even threats of violence can be enough to justify exclusion.  Any damage to school property, public property or personal property can warrant exclusion.  The behaviour does not need to have happened in school, it can happen outside of school or online and still warrant exclusion.


Can a child be excluded from a school trip?


A child can be excluded from a school trip on the grounds of known, highly challenging behaviour that could jeopardise their safety and the safety of others. Schools should always consider making accommodations to help a child participate in a trip wherever possible. That might be allowing the child to come on parts of the trip for instance. 

If a child has complex medical needs, this can also make teachers wary about being responsible for that child on a school trip. However, schools must be conscientious not to discriminate against any child. It’s just good practice for schools to plan ahead for the needs of the whole cohort. One example could be inviting the legal guardian of a child with complex medical needs to the school trip. 

Being excluded from a school trip can be a real blow to a child, wreaking havoc on their confidence and increasing feelings of hostility towards the school and their peers.


What are the effects of being excluded from school?


If a child has been excluded from school, it’s usually a symptom of a lot more going on behind the scenes. Life is unpredictable and at times cruel, there could be things going on at home that are outside of your control, which have led to a downward spiral in your child’s behaviour resulting in exclusion. 

If their behaviour issues are long term and everything is stable at home, then an undiagnosed mental health problem or disability could be hampering your child’s chance at a good education.  

The effects of exclusion from school, aside from negatively affecting a child’s education and academic achievement, has also been attributed to feelings of depression

Exclusions are written on a child’s permanent record and follow a child from school to school. For some children who really struggle in a school environment, exclusion might be a welcome relief. However, this only leads to purposefully behaving badly again, with the goal of being excluded once more.


My child has been excluded from school how to get help?


  1. First of all, if your child has been excluded you must make sure that your child is not seen outside of the home on the first five school days following their exclusion (unless for a  medical appointment or another necessary reason) or you could be prosecuted.
  2. Read the letter sent by the school to explain the exclusion, and then read it again. If the exclusion is temporary, but for more than 5 days, or conflicting with a national exam then you can ask for the decision to be overturned. If the exclusion is permanent you will be invited to a review meeting. 
  3. If the exclusion is temporary and you want to avoid it happening again, you must keep open lines of communication with the school. Identify a key contact in the school who you can communicate with regularly about your child. Present yourself as wanting to cooperate with the school on rebuilding a positive relationship. Reach out to professionals including GPs who may refer your child for further investigation to NHS mental health services, or provide advice on next steps. Not only will your child benefit from outside support, this demonstrates your proactive approach to your child’s education and wellbeing.
  4. If the exclusion is permanent then the school will provide a full-time education alternative.

Exclusion is a very serious matter in a child’s education, but a positive and consistent response from you and professional advice can help your child to move past the exclusion and onto a better relationship with their education. 

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