With so much recent news coverage on the subject of off-rolling, we decided to take a closer look at the official exclusions guidance. We find out when pupils can be excluded and for how long. We also investigate how to record exclusions on attendance registers.
When to exclude a pupil
A pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods, up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year. They can also be excluded permanently.
A decision to permanently exclude a pupil should only be taken:
- In response to a serious breach, or persistent breaches, of the school's behaviour policy; and
- Where a pupil’s behaviour means that allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school
The guidance does not set a limit on how long after an incident a headteacher can exclude a pupil. You can't extend a fixed-term exclusion or convert a fixed-term exclusion into a permanent exclusion. However, you can issue a further fixed period or a permanent exclusion to begin immediately after the end of the first fixed period. This is usually where further evidence has come to light.
This information is set out in statutory guidance from the Department for Education and applies to all maintained schools, academies, and pupil referral units in England. The guidance also applies to pupils above or below compulsory school age, such as those attending nursery classes.
Recording exclusions on attendance registers
The DfE says that while an excluded pupil’s name remains on a school’s admissions register, they should be marked using the appropriate attendance code.
Where alternative provision has been made that meets the requirements of the pupil registration regulations, and the pupil attends it, an appropriate attendance code should be used.For example:
- Code B (education off-site)
- Code D (dual registration)
When pupils aren't attending alternative provision they should be marked absent using code E.
The DfE's school absence and exclusions team told us that if a pupil is excluded in the afternoon, this counts as half a day or one 'session'.
For example, if the pupil is excluded at 14:30, the exclusion would be recorded as half a day, or one session. If the pupil is excluded at 10:00, the exclusion would be recorded as one day, or two sessions.
If a pupil is excluded in the afternoon, that day would be regarded as the start date of the exclusion, even if it is not recorded as a full day. The start date of an exclusion is the date the pupil is asked to leave the school premises, regardless of the time of day this occurs.
Removing pupils from the admissions register
The pupil's name must be removed from the school admissions register if:
- 15 school days have passed since the parents were notified of the governing board’s decision to uphold a permanent exclusion and no application has been made for an independent review panel; or
- The parents have stated in writing that they will not be applying for an independent review panel
Where an application for an independent review panel has been made within 15 school days, the headteacher must wait until the review has been determined, or abandoned, before removing a pupil’s name from the register.
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