Frequently asked questions (exclusions)

1. I don’t agree with the suspension for my child, what can I do?

You can write to the governing body to make your representations, their duties to consider will vary depending on how many days in total of suspensions within a term, and/or whether the exclusion will mean an exam or test will be missed.

See our information about Governing body duties.

Where less than 5 days in a term, the governing body must consider your representations but are not required to meet with you and cannot direct re-instatement.

If you make representations where the total number of suspensions is between 5 and 15 days in a term, the governing body decision is unlikely to affect the actual exclusion (the period of suspension will probably have taken place by the time the governors consider). If they decide to overturn the decision a note can be added to your child’s school record.

If you believe that your child has been discriminated against in the exclusion process because of a disability, you may also make a claim to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) within six months of the exclusion. 

2. I don’t agree with the permanent exclusion for my child, what can I do?

Speak to the Head Teacher as soon as you are told about the exclusion, (as this is not formally agreed until the governing body has considered) 

When the governing body meets to consider the exclusion, this is your opportunity to ask any questions about how or why the decision was made. Read more about the Governing body meeting.

If you are in disagreement with the governing body decision to ‘uphold’ the permanent exclusion following the meeting, you can have a further opportunity to make your representations, by requesting an Independent Review Panel (IRP). Your letter from the governing body should explain your right to request an IRP and how to do this.

If you believe that your child has been discriminated against in the exclusion process because of a disability, you may also make a claim to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) within six months of the exclusion. 

3. What else can be tried to help my child manage their behaviour?

This can be very difficult for everyone involved. The most important thing is to continue to work with school, sharing ideas and deciding next support steps.

Ask your child how they feel, what’s working and what isn’t, and what would need to change to see improvements with behaviour. Share this information with school, this is the starting point.

Look for patterns or triggers for behaviour, for example are the instances always in a particular lesson or time of the day.

Consider a positive praise approach – finding a way to praise even the smallest of things can have a positive impact to behaviour.

Think about the behaviour targets set, breaking these down to bite-size achievable targets can be a good way to manage. For example, if you are able to praise your child for getting through a lesson without incident (even where other lessons may not have been as positive!), it might just lift their confidence enough to keep them feeling positive about the next day and start to break the cycle of challenging behaviour.

School might consider:

4. Can school decide to change my child’s suspension to a permanent exclusion?

This should only happen in exceptional cases, where additional evidence has come to light.

The Department for Education exclusions guidance says:

3. 10 The law does not allow for extending a suspension or ‘converting’ a suspension into a permanent exclusion. In exceptional cases, usually where further evidence has come to light, a further suspension may be issued to begin immediately after the first period ends; or a permanent exclusion may be issued to begin immediately after the end of the suspension.

5. Can school exclude my child who has an EHC plan?

The Head Teacher has the right to exclude a child but should, as far as possible, avoid permanently excluding any pupil with an EHC plan or a ‘looked after child.’ For any child at risk of exclusion the Head Teacher should consider what alternatives are available, and request that the Annual Review be brought forward.

The local authority must review and amend the EHC plan for a child that is permanently excluded, to ensure they continue to receive education or training.

See more information on our web page ‘with an EHC plan’.

6. School are suggesting a reduced (or part-time) timetable, can they do this?

The law says that, unless your child’s health means that full-time education would not be in his or her best interests, they should receive a full-time education.

However, a reduced timetable can be an effective short-term measure. See our information right to a full-time education

7. What is the ‘in-year Fair Access Panel’ or ‘IYFAP’?

This is a Suffolk panel process which has been used in the past to discuss provision for pupils who are at risk of exclusion.

In September 2019 Suffolk changed their process and the IYFAP now only considers pupils in the following categories:

  • ‘in-year’ admissions to mainstream schools (moving to another school during the school year)
  • re-integration to mainstream school (pupils who have been receiving alternative provision)
  • Managed moves

You can contact the local authority if you have any questions about the IYFAP process. Read more about the changes to the referral process.

8. I get calls all the time from school asking me to pick my child up.

Asking a parent to pick up their child at lunchtimes, early, sending a child home to ‘cool off’ are known as ‘unofficial’ exclusions and are unlawful. The threat of exclusion should not be used to influence parents to remove their child from the school.  

The Department for Education exclusions guidance says that any exclusion of a child must follow the formal process (fixed-term with an agreed end date).

If you believe your child has been unlawfully excluded from school, you could contact Suffolk County Council using the following email:

9. Will school set work for my child, for the period of their fixed-term exclusion?

For exclusions of more than five school days, the school (or local authority if excluded from a PRU) must arrange suitable full-time education from day six, unless your child is under compulsory school age or in year 11 having already completed their GCSE’s.

The Department for Education exclusions guidance highlights there are benefits of arranging education before day six of any exclusion and says…

93. Where it is not possible, or not appropriate, to arrange alternative provision during the

first five school days of a suspension or permanent exclusion, the school should take

reasonable steps to set and mark work for the pupil. Online pathways such as Google

Classroom or Oak Academy can be used but schools should ensure that the work set

is accessible and achievable by the pupil outside school.

Talk to school about the arrangements for how your child will access work and have this marked during the period of a fixed-term exclusion.

Watch this UCL video explaining the different types of exclusion