Schools must have regard to the SEND Code of Practice and the Equality Act 2010 (part 6 relates to schools), and the Head Teacher should consider whether assessment is required to identify any SEN, and that the appropriate support is in place.

It could also be helpful to read our information explaining support for children with Special Educational Needs, called SEN Support.

If your child has an EHC plan also take a look at our page ‘with an EHC plan

  • An exclusion can only be on disciplinary grounds, 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 (see the Department for Education Suspension and permanent exclusions guidance 2023).
  • In exceptional cases, where additional evidence has come to light, a suspension may be extended or converted to a Permanent exclusion.
  • Exclusions may only be given by the Head Teacher who has a duty to notify parents and where relevant the social worker and virtual school head in writing and without delay. They must include the reason for the exclusion, the period of exclusion, parents rights to make representations to the governing body and how, and should also include links to sources of impartial advice and information.
  • The Head Teacher must immediately inform the governing body of: a permanent exclusion or suspension of more than 5 school days in a term or where an exclusion results in a child missing an examination or national curriculum test.
  • The Local Authority must be informed without delay of all school exclusions, including suspensions, regardless of the length of the exclusion.
  • The legal limit for number of suspensions (fixed-term exclusions) is 45 days in an academic year. (even where attended more than one school)

See our information within the page ‘Governing body duties‘ to find out what your next steps are if you have some questions or concerns about the exclusion decision.

A suspension may be used to provide a clear signal of what is unacceptable behaviour
as part of the school’s behaviour policy and show a pupil that their current behaviour is
putting them at risk of permanent exclusion. Where suspensions are becoming a regular
occurrence for a pupil, headteachers and schools should consider whether suspension
alone is an effective sanction for the pupil and whether additional strategies need to be
put in place to address behaviour.

7. DFE Suspension and permanent exclusion guidance 2023

Disability Discrimination

If you believe that your child has been disadvantaged due to their disability, you may also wish to make a claim to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (within six months of the exclusion). Read more on our ‘Raising concerns‘ page

Schools (including Academies and Free schools), with your consent, might consider one of these referral options:

Read the government guidance around Alternative Provision

Suffolk County Council’s Alternative Provision – Guide for parents and carers (opens pdf)

You can contact the local authority directly with any questions or concerns relating to exclusions and alternative provision:

Support to help your child attend school (Suffolk County Council)

Watch ‘Inclusion of pupils with SEND’ video

read the accessible script (opens PDF) for the video “inclusion of pupils with SEND”

Watch this video from UCL explaining types of exclusion