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Suspensions and Permanent Exclusions

Suspensions and Permanent Exclusions



The Inclusion and Access Team can offer support to schools and parents/carers about school suspensions and permanent exclusions. 

Statutory School Suspensions and Permanent Exclusions Guidance

The latest Department for Education (DfE) guidance on suspensions and permanent exclusions, published in May 2023, comes into force from 1 September 2023.  The guidance can be found at School suspensions and permanent exclusions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

A Headteacher can suspend or permanently exclude a pupil on disciplinary grounds. DfE guidance refers to schools as: maintained schools, pupil referral units, academy schools (including free schools, studio schools) and alternative provision academies (including alternative provisions free schools). Only the Headteacher has the power to suspend or permanently exclude a pupil from school.

There are two types of exclusion:

Permanent Exclusion
A permanent exclusion is the most serious sanction a school can give and should only be used as a last resort. A Headteacher may decide to permanently exclude a child if the actions of the child have been in serious breach or persistent breaches of a school's behaviour policy and where allowing the child to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others, such as staff or pupils in the school.

A permanent exclusion means the pupil cannot return to the school unless reinstated by the school's Governing Body.

If a pupil is permanently excluded from school, the Headteacher should take steps to arrange for work to be set and marked in the first five school days. The Local Authority (LA) has a duty to provide suitable full-time education. Together for Children carries out this function on behalf of Sunderland City Council. Together for Children may arrange for a pupil to be placed in another school or other suitable arrangements may be made.

If a child is permanently excluded, parents/carers have the right to make representations to the school's Governing Body. It is the Governing Body's role to either decline to reinstate or reinstate the pupil. If the Governors decide to decline reinstatement of the pupil, parents/carers can request that the decision is reviewed by an Independent Review Panel.

A suspension is where a child has temporarily been removed from school for a fixed period of time. Suspensions are usually for a short period and Headteachers can suspend during a lunch-time period or part of a school day. The pupil returns after the suspension period has expired. Headteachers should take steps to arrange for work to be set and marked in the first five school days of a suspension. If a suspension is longer than five school days, school must arrange suitable full-time education from the sixth day of a suspension.

A suspension is a behaviour management tool and should be set out within a school's behaviour policy. A suspension may be used to provide a clear signal of what is unacceptable behaviour as part of a school's behaviour policy.

If a child is suspended, parents/carers have the right to make representations to the school's Governing Body. Depending on the number of days a child has been suspended within a term will determine when a meeting needs to takes place. It is the Governing Body's role to consider any representations made by parents/carers and they also have the power to consider the reinstatement of the child.

Contact us

For general enquiries, further advice on suspensions and permanent exclusions, or if you are a headteacher of a school and considering taking a decision to suspend or permanently exclude a pupil and require further details, you can contact:

Michelle Burlinson, Inclusion and Access Officer

Tel: 07769 887602

Email: michelle.burlinson@togetherforchildren.org.uk


Shelley Robson, Business Support Officer, Inclusion and Access

Tel: 07765 429145

Email: shelley.robson@togetherforchildren.org.uk


External links
Department for Education (DfE) guidance for parents/carers can be accessed via the following web links:


Useful contacts that provide impartial advice and information to parents/carers on education matters include:


Additional Department for Education (DfE) guidance for schools can be accessed in Annex B, page 78 of Suspension and Permanent Exclusion guidance, May 23 - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1162401/Suspension_and_permanent_exclusion_guidance_May_2023.pdf


Suspension letters templates for schools
Suspensions letter templates (available in the 'related media' section below) have been amended to reflect DfE changes that came into effect from September 2023 and relate to exclusions that occur from that date.   

The term Headteacher applies equally to the teacher in charge of pupil referral units and principals of academies. The term Governing Board applies equally to management committees of pupil referral units and the academy trusts of academies.

Permanent exclusion letters
Permanent exclusion letter templates have also been amended and can be obtained by contacting the Inclusion and Access Team on 07765 429 145 or 07769 887 602.





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