Exclusion

Numerous reports in recent years and SNAP Cymru’s experiences working with families clearly shows that many children and young people with ALN, including SEN and disability, are at greater risk of school exclusion, bullying and long term social exclusion than their peers.

SNAP Cymru is committed to helping to reduce the number of children at risk by working with schools, families and young people to resolve issues and reduce behaviours that lead to the threat of exclusion, bullying, truancy, non-attendance and disaffection.

This is achieved through –

  • Promotion of partnership working to resolve disputes through early intervention.
  • Provision of advice and support to families at Pupil Disciplinary Hearings and Appeals.
  • Facilitating multi-agency working to seek school and community based solutions.
  • Positive support for inclusive policies and actions to reduce exclusions – illegal, voluntary, fixed term and permanent.
  • Schools and Local Authorities may commission direct advocacy and representation for young people who are excluded from schools or educational settings.

SNAP Cymru/Barnardo's report on Illegal Exclusions in Wales

If your child is affected by an exclusion read one of our brief advice guides below.

Permanent Exclusion
Fixed Term Exclusion
Voluntary and Lunchtime Exclusion

Permanent exclusion is when a school feels a pupil has broken the school rules (behaviour policy) and that pupil should no longer remain at that school because of an incident or incidents that took place.

Only the Head Teacher or the most senior teacher on site can exclude. A Head Teacher may permanently exclude for a first offence under certain exceptional circumstances.

Permanent exclusion is a serious decision and should normally be used as a last resort when all other strategies and support have been tried without success.

Exclusion should always be a last resort. Strategies and individual plans to meet needs should have been explored beforehand. Exclusiosn should not be given in the heat of the moment unless there is an immediate threat to the safety of individuals.

The school should set and mark work, which parents/carers need to arrange to collect and return.

If you are concerned over exclusions or would like free, independent information, advice or support, contact:

Helpline 0845 120 3730

SNAP Cymru: Permanent Exclusion

If your child is affected by an exclusion read one of our brief advice guides below.

Permanent Exclusion
Fixed Term Exclusion
Voluntary and Lunchtime Exclusion

How should parents/carers be informed?

The school should inform the parent/carer by telephone immediately, whenever possible, followed by a letter within one school day which should explain:

  • that the exclusion is permanent
  • the reasons for the exclusion
  • the parent/carers and pupil’s right to make representations to the Pupil Disciplinary Committee (PDC) and the latest date the meeting can take place
  • the parents/carers rights to view or obtain their child’s school records upon written request under the Education (Pupil Records) (Wales) Regulations 2001
  • the contact details of the clerk to the PDC
  • parents/carers will need to inform the clerk if they wish to attend the PDC and if they will be accompanied by a friend or a supporter such as a SNAP Cymru Independent Parental Supporter.

What can parents/carers do?

  • Talk over the incident(s) with the child and take notes.
  • Find out details of the incident, by asking how?, where?, when?, and by whom? type of questions.
  • Ask the school for a copy of its behaviour policy.
  • Look at possible causes and if sufficient levels of support were in place.
  • Compare your child’s version with the accounts of others.
  • List any questions or queries you may have regarding the exclusion.

What the school will do

  • Allow the pupil a chance to give his/her version of what happened.
  • Interview other witnesses including other pupils and staff.
  • Write an account of the reason for the exclusion in readiness for the PDC.
  • Gather information on any support that the pupil may have received, including who provided the support and for how long.
  • Circulate to all parties within 5 school days of the meeting any written statements (including witness statements) and a list of persons who will be present at the meeting

This is an exclusion where it has been decided that a child cannot attend school for a given number of days because of an incident or a series of incidents that have happened which are considered to be a breach of the school’s behaviour policy.

Fixed term exclusion can be anything from half a day up to a maximum of 45 days in a school year. Only the Head Teacher or the most senior teacher on site can exclude.

SNAP Cymru: Fixed-Term Exclusions

If your child is affected by an exclusion read one of our brief advice guides below.

Permanent Exclusion
Fixed Term Exclusion
Voluntary and Lunchtime Exclusion

How should parents/carers be informed?

School should inform parents/carers immediately by telephone whenever possible. This should be followed by letter within one school day and must explain:

  • the length of exclusion e.g. two school days
  • the reason for the exclusion
  • the parent/carers and pupil’s right to make representations to a Pupil Disciplinary Committee (PDC). The PDC is not always required to meet but they must consider any representations from the parent/carers and pupils. Most schools PDCs do meet and invite representations.
  • the date and time when the pupil should return to school. (Often the school will request to see the parent before the pupil returns to school).
  • the arrangements for the pupil to receive work set by the school and for the work to be marked
  • parents’ rights to view and/or obtain their child’s school records upon written request under the Education (Pupil Records) Wales Regulations 2001
  • the contact details of someone in the Local Authority (LA) who can give advice on the exclusion process

Some LAs give the number of their local Parent Partnership Service. In Wales this is usually SNAP Cymru.

What the school will do

  • Allow the pupil a chance to give his/her version of what happened.
  • Interview other witnesses including other pupils and staff.
  • Write an account of the reason for the exclusion in readiness for the PDC, if one is to be held.
  • Gather information on any support that the pupil may have received, including who provided the support and for how long.
  • If a PDC is to be held, circulate to all parties within 5 days of the meeting any written statements (including witness statements) and a list of persons who will be present at the meeting.

Additional Information

Exclusion should always be a last resort. Strategies and individual plans to meet needs should have been explored beforehand. Exclusions should not be given in the heat of the moment unless there is an immediate threat to the safety of individuals. In all cases of more than a day’s exclusion, the school should set and mark work, which parents/carers need to arrange to collect and return.

Voluntary exclusion is where schools ask parents/carers to keep their child at home as a way of dealing with behavioural difficulties. This is not good practice and denies pupils their rights to an education and denies both parents and pupils the right to appeal against this form of exclusion. Local Authorities (LA) will consider appropriate measures where schools are found to be using voluntary exclusion.

If you are concerned over exclusions or would like free, independent information, advice or support, contact:

Helpline 0845 120 3730

SNAP Cymru: Voluntary and lunchtime Exclusions

If your child is affected by an exclusion read one of our brief advice guides below.

Permanent Exclusion
Fixed Term Exclusion
Voluntary and Lunchtime Exclusion

What can parents/carers do?

  • Parents/Carers sometimes feel pressurized to take their child out of school.
  • If parents are asked to keep a pupil at home, they should ask the school to make it official i.e. ask the Head Teacher to put it in writing.
  • Ask the school for a meeting to discuss the problems to see if something can be done e.g. change of class, extra support. Parents and carers must remember that it is an offence to fail to secure regular schooling for a child and parents may be at risk of prosecution.

Lunchtime Exclusion

Lunchtime exclusion should be a short-term option only.

Lunchtime exclusion should be recorded as a quarter of a school day. If lunchtime exclusions add up to more than 5 whole days, parents/carers will be entitled to make representations to the Pupil Disciplinary Committee (PDC).

If a pupil is in receipt of free school meals they must have that meal before they leave the school premises, or be provided with a packed lunch that can be eaten off site. It may be due to a special educational need or disability that a pupil has problems during break and lunchtimes. Arranging a meeting with the school to discuss options is often beneficial.

Exclusion from school trips

Sometimes children are not allowed to go on school trips, take part in activities off the school premises or take part in activities in school.

The Special Educational Needs Framework exists to identify and meet additional needs. The Equalities Act strengthens the framework and makes it unlawful to discriminate against disabled pupils and promotes equality of opportunity.

The definition of a disabled pupil is broad and may include a wide range of impairments. If a school treats a disabled pupil less favourably because of the disability without justification, or a reason that is both material and substantial, they may be breaking the law.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has created guidance for schools regarding the new Equality Act that came into force on 1 October 2010.  You can download them from their website.