Governing body duties

The head teacher will notify the governing body of:

  • any permanent exclusion (including where a fixed-period exclusion is followed by a decision to permanently exclude the pupil);
  • any exclusion which would result in the pupil being excluded for a total of more than five school days (or more than ten lunchtimes) in a term; and
  • any exclusion which would result in the pupil missing a public examination or national curriculum test.

The Governing body’s duties vary depending on length and type of exclusion but in the case of permanent exclusion; suspension (fixed-term exclusion) for over 15 days in a term; or any exclusion resulting in missing a GCSE or National Curriculum test, the Governing body must consider reinstatement (within 15 days of exclusion notice).

The Local Authority must be informed without delay of all school exclusions regardless of the length of the exclusion.

For a permanent exclusion from a school outside the pupil’s ‘home Authority’ both local authorities should be notified.

The notification must include the reasons and duration of the suspension or exclusion.

The Department for Education statutory guidance on exclusions says:

The governing board has a duty to consider parents’ representations about a suspension or permanent exclusion. (95)

Governing body duties to consider exclusions

Exclusion typeGoverning body duties
PermanentMust consider reinstatement with 15 school days of notice of exclusion.
Fixed-term, where total number of days excluded in a term is 15 or overMust consider reinstatement with 15 school days of notice of exclusion.
Fixed-term, where total number of days excluded in a term is more than 5 but less than 15Parents can request the governing body considers reinstatement within 50 school days.
Fixed-term, where total number of days excluded in a term is less than 5Must consider parent’s representations but no requirement to meet with parents or power to reinstate.
Any exclusion which would result in a child missing a public examination (e.g. GCSE or national curriculum (e.g. Key Stage 2) test

Must consider within 15 school days of exclusion and in addition take reasonable steps to consider the exclusion before the date of the exam or test.

If this is not practical, the chair of governors may consider pupil’s reinstatement alone.

Parents have the right to make representations to the governing body.

Governing body arranges the meeting

The governing body must invite and make reasonable endeavours to arrange the meeting for a date and time which suits:

  • parents; 
  • the pupil if 18 years or over,
  • the Head Teacher,
  • a representative of the local authority (in the case of a maintained school or PRU*).
  • the Social Worker if the child has one, and
  • the Virtual Schools Head if the child is LAC.

*For other school types you may request a representative from the local authority attend, but the governing body would have to consent to them making any representations (ie. they may only be allowed to observe).

The meeting should be held face to face, however, parents or excluded pupils over 18 can now request that the meeting is held online. Governing boards will still have to be satisfied that the meeting can be held fairly in this way.

You can ask to take a friend or representative along to the governor meeting with you, and you will get a list of who is attending with copies of written evidence and information at least 5 days in advance of the meeting.

Taking into account, the pupil’s age and understanding, the pupil or their parents
should also be made aware of their right to attend and participate in governing board
meetings and the pupil should be enabled to make a representation on their own
behalf if they wish to do so.

Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions on the Child Law Advice website for further information about governor duties & the meeting process.

The meeting

You do not have to attend but the meeting is an opportunity to ask any questions about the incident/s and the exclusion decision. You can also discuss related information such as your child’s SEN and the support they receive.

It is important to prepare your representations (questions & concerns) in advance of the meeting. Take a look at our information about preparing your questions and concerns.

Watch a Suffolk parent talking about their experience of permanent exclusion.

The decision

The governing body will decide to:

  • uphold an exclusion; or
  • direct reinstatement of the pupil immediately or on a particular date. 

Where reinstatement is not practical or you make clear you do not want your child reinstated, the governing body must still consider whether the head teacher’s decision to exclude your child was justified based on the evidence.

The governing body must notify you, the head teacher and the Local Authority the social worker and virtual school head (if relevant) of its decision, and the reasons for its decision, in writing and without delay. 

In the case of a permanent exclusion, the governing body’s notification must also include the following information:

Watch this video from UCL explaining ‘Who’s who in the exclusion process’
Watch this UCL video which explains the governing body and their involvement.
Watch this UCL video explaining the process around the Governing body’s decision.

Recent changes to the Suspension and permanent exclusion guidance (Sep 2022) since the recording of these videos, now state that: Pupils if over 18, social workers and virtual school heads (if the child has one or is LAC) should also be invited to the meeting and be informed of the Governors decisions without delay.