Was the exclusion for a non-disciplinary reason?

Was the exclusion for a non-disciplinary reason?


A school only has the power to exclude someone for “disciplinary reasons”. In practice, this means that the young person will need to have breached the school's behaviour policy on one or more occasions. This must be cited as the reason for the exclusion in the headteacher's letter confirming it.

If the exclusion is for any other reason, then the exclusion is unlawful. 

To understand more about when a headteacher can decide to exclude a young person, read the Quick Guide: The headteacher's power to exclude

Read the letter from the headteacher confirming the exclusion. Check the reason given for the exclusion and consider whether this is a disciplinary reason.

You may want to consider checking through the school's records and panel pack too to see if there is reason to believe that non-disciplinary factors have influenced the decision to exclude, even if these are not the reasons given in the letter.

Next step?

Answer the question: Was the reason for the exclusion that the young person breached the school's behaviour policy?

If the answer is no, consider using the Suggested Wording document: Argument to the governing board: Exclusion for a non disciplinary reason

Once you have answered this question, click continue to proceed.



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This information is correct at the time of writing, 5th September 2023. The law in this area is subject to change.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre cannot be held responsible if changes to the law outdate this publication. Individuals may print or photocopy information in CCLC publications for their personal use.

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