Parents sometimes call us and say their child has been sent home from school; they may have been told it is “just to cool off” and they have never received an official letter regarding the exclusion. These are all classed as “unofficial” exclusions which are unlawful.
Why do parents agree to this?
- They may not want it recorded on their child’s school record.
- They are worried if they do not agree to this the school may permanently exclude their child.
- They just want a quiet life with no fuss.
What are the benefits of an exclusion being made official?
- If there is no official record of an exclusion it doesn’t highlight the fact there are difficulties and it appears as if the school are managing the child’s behaviour.
- If nothing is recorded or evidenced a parent or carer may lose the right to speak to, or appeal to, the Governors of the school.
- The appropriate support agencies may not be involved if exclusion is managed this way, as it would appear there are no problems.
- Parents or carers will be unaware of the fine that can be imposed if a child is seen in a public place when they are excluded.
- Unofficial exclusion is unlawful.
If a school cannot manage a child and requests that the child be removed from site then it should only be done as an official exclusion.
Government Guidance “Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England – January 2015” states:
1.12: Exclusion legislation does not provide for “informal” or “unofficial” exclusions, such as sending pupils home to “cool off”. Pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education. Removing a pupil from the school without a legal basis in unlawful, regardless of whether it occurs with the agreement of parents or carers. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be formally recorded. Formally arranged part-time timetables may be necessary as a temporary measure in exceptional circumstances to meet pupils’ needs but must no be used as a disciplinary sanction.
The legislation that this guidance “Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England” relates to is:
- Section 51A of the Education Act 2002, as inserted by the Education Act 2011.
- The School Discipline (Pupil Exclusions & Reviews) (England) Regulations 2012.
- Sections 100 – 108 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006.
- The Education (Provision of Full Time Education for Excluded Pupils) (England) Regulations 2007 (as amended 2014).
As a parent or carer you can ask for any exclusion to be made official and request a re-integration meeting in school when your child returns.
If this is happening to you or your child and you would like to discuss it then please contact us.