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Exclusion from schools and pupil referral units

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A pupil can be excluded from a school or pupil referral unit (PRU) if they have seriously breached the school’s behaviour policy or if they pose a risk to the education or welfare of other learners.

Our guidance provides advice on:

  • excluding learners from schools and PRUs
  • the procedures for appealing against exclusion
  • how to maintain the education of excluded learners.

It is split into 7 sections which cover:

  • the use of exclusion
  • the procedure for excluding a learner and the role of the headteacher
  • the responsibilities of the discipline committee
  • the independent appeal panels
  • police involvement and parallel criminal proceedings
  • the procedures and reintegration following exclusion
  • money to follow excluded learners.

Under section 52(4) of the Education Act 2002 (external link), those involved in making decisions on exclusion and administrating the exclusion procedures and appeals process must have regard to this guidance. This includes:

  • headteachers
  • teachers in charge of a PRU
  • governing bodies
  • local authorities
  • independent appeal panels.

Research project on illegal exclusions

Following the National Behaviour and Attendance Review, we became aware that some schools were illegally excluding pupils. A pupil has been illegally excluded if their parent/carer is asked to keep them away from school without a formal notification of exclusion.

We commissioned SNAP Cymru and Barnardo’s Cymru to undertake a research project. We wanted them to speak to families who had gone to them for advice because they had received an illegal exclusion. The aim of the report was to:

  • discover how often illegal exclusions are used as a strategy for managing challenging behaviour
  • hear the experiences of families who have undergone illegal exclusions
  • learn more about the process of managed moves.

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