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Golden rules of permanent exclusion for headteachers

  1. Permanent exclusions should only take place in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school’s behaviour policy and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.
  2. All exclusions must follow the correct procedure as set out in the Department for Education’s Statutory Exclusion guidance – check that you are using the current (2017) guidance and not the old (2012) or withdrawn (2015) guidance. Decisions made with the wrong guidance are particularly vulnerable to review.
  3. All exclusions must be officially recorded as exclusions.
  4. All exclusions must be for disciplinary reasons only.
  5. All schools must have a behavioural policy for pupils to follow.
  6. Headteachers should, as far as possible, avoid permanently excluding looked after children.
  7. Headteachers should, as far as possible, avoid permanently excluding children with EHC plans for special educational needs.
  8. Pupils cannot be excluded for poor academic attainment or for reasons relating to the actions of their parents.
  9. The headteacher’s decision to exclude must be taken on the ‘balance of probabilities’. That means that it is more likely than not that the pupil did what they are accused of.
  10. Headteachers must not send a pupil home to ‘cool off’ even if parents or carers agree, this would amount to an unofficial and therefore unlawful exclusion.
  11. Headteachers must give a pupil the opportunity to share their views.
  12. If a child with SEN is showing poor behaviour or is at risk of exclusion, the head teacher must look first at what additional support could reasonably be put in place.
  13. Headteachers must demonstrate to the Governors that their school is already using a range of strategies to support this pupil.
  14. Headteachers must find out if there is anything that hasn’t already been mentioned at school by other members of the school community that will help them come to the right decision.
  15. Headteachers should look at providing extra support to groups that are known to be at a greater risk of exclusion.