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The law on ... Exclusions from school

Basic issues

Children can be excluded for a variety of reasons, including violent or disruptive behaviour, bullying or possession or supply of drugs. Exclusions should be a last resort.

Who is responsible?

In the first instance, the head has the responsibility of investigating the facts of the alleged offence. This means obtaining statements from the child concerned, any victim, any teachers who may have been involved, having regard to the school's policies, keeping a record of the actions taken, considering whether the child was provoked and having looking at any special educational needs the child may have.

What to watch out for

Heads must exclude only if they believe that the offence was committed by the child. It's vital to follow policies and apply the principles of fairness, which include the child's right to be heard. Parents can appeal a fixed-term exclusion of more than five days or a permanent exclusion to the governing body. If the child is permanently excluded, the parents will have a further right of appeal to the Independent Appeal Panel.

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