Parent Partnership Service

When and why can a headteacher exclude a pupil?

The headteacher's decision to exclude a pupil can be for:

  • persistent breaches of the school's behaviour policy, when other strategies or sanctions have been exhausted or deemed inappropriate in the circumstances
  • a more serious one-off incident. 

Schools vary in the types of behaviour that they feel warrant an exclusion. However, in general, incidents will fall into one of the following categories:

  • physical assault against pupil
  • physical assault against adult
  • verbal abuse/threatening behaviour against pupil
  • verbal abuse/threatening behaviour against adult
  • bullying
  • racist abuse
  • sexual misconduct
  • drug and alcohol related
  • damage
  • theft
  • persistent disruptive behaviour.

The behaviour of pupils outside school can be a reason for exclusion.

Schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy. Parents, who may be doubtful about a decision to exclude their child, may find that it would be useful to check that the school is applying its own behaviour policy.

If your child is excluded, the headteacher must tell you immediately. They must do this by phone, and send a letter on the same they phone.

ID: 391, revised 31/10/2017