(This post refers to Fixed term exclusions)
I mentioned in my exclusions post that I believe we sometimes need time to calm down and collect our thoughts. This cooling off period is unfortunately classed as an unlawful exclusion. So how do you know whether your child has been excluded lawfully?
- It will not be called a ‘cooling off period’. You will not be called and asked to collect your child ‘early’. If you do collect them before the end of the school day then that it a part of the exclusion period.
- It will be for a fixed period of time.
- There will be a letter or email clearly stating the date of return and the reason for the exclusion.
- The letter will also give information about what can and cannot happen during the exclusion and what to do if you disagree/want to complain.
- The Head Teacher will have approved the exclusion (or in their absence the deputy head teacher)…this is the only person with the authority in a school to issue an exclusion.
- Will provide work for the duration of the exclusion.
- Can be given for behaviour that took place off the school site: e.g a school trip, on the way to or from school or via social media at the weekends.
- Can be issued where a child is due to sit examinations. The vast majority of schools will attempt to ensure the exam can take place in alternative venue, althought they are not obliged to.
- Can still be issued to children with SEN, EHCPs or who are looked-after…but the Head Teacher must consider whether this is the most appropriate action to take and whether reasonable adjustments have been made/needs are being met.
- Have no end date, or an end date that is changed. A fixed term exclusion cannot be extended (except in exceptional circumstances where an investigation brings forward additional information). It also cannot be ‘converted’ into a permanent exclusion.
- Excluding the child for something the parent has done.
- Suggesting you ‘keep them at home, today’
- Are not recorded as ‘E’ in the school register and on the chil’d records, nor reported on to the appropriate body (usually the governors and the Local Authority)
- Part-time timetables, except where agreed as appropriate to meet needs and regularly reviewed.
- Refusing the child’s re-entry to school because the parent’s cannot attend the reintegration meeting.
You have the right to question an exclusion, however where they are for short periods and where the child has accumlated less than 15 days, the governors do not have to meet with you.
If you want to complain about the exclusion you need to follow the advice in the exclusions letter or in the school complaints policy. This is one of those situations where trying to jump over heads will not get you further any faster.