Exclusions From School
Carer /Social Worker Actions
The Education and Inspections Act 2006 established that the parent becomes responsible for a child in the first five days of every exclusion, ensuring that he or she is not present in a public place during school hours. With children in care this responsibility falls to the social worker to be carried out with the involvement of foster carers. Carers should ensure social workers receive a copy of any letter of exclusion received.
Schools must provide meaningful and relevant work to all excluded pupils for the first five days. From the sixth day of a fixed exclusion schools are responsible for providing full time education. Access to the services of alternative learning programmes may be provided at this stage and schools should work closely with the Virtual School contact to facilitate this transition where needed.
Only the headteacher (or member of staff with delegated responsibility) can exclude a pupil. The school must record all exclusions electronically for the government census and the local authority, and notify the parent in writing of the reason for exclusion within 24 hours.
‘Informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions, such as sending pupils home ‘to cool off’, are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be formally recorded.
Maintained schools have the power to direct a pupil off-site for education to improve his or her behaviour. A pupil can also transfer to another school as part of a ‘managed move’ where this occurs with the consent of the parties involved, including the parents. However, the threat of exclusion must never be used to influence the decision to remove a child from the school
Local authorities and schools must have regard to the Department’s statutory guidance Exclusions from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England. In line with that, headteachers should, as far as possible, avoid excluding any looked-after child. Promoting the Education of Looked After Children, July 2014.
Virtual School Actions
In the event of a child in care being deemed at risk of permanent exclusion by the headteacher, the relevant Virtual School Headteacher will work with relevant local authority professionals and the school until a suitable educational offer is in place. AfC Virtual School has a three year trend of Zero Permanent Exclusions.
A new mainstream school may be appropriate with a package of support, or a place at a pupil referral unit. An assessment of special educational needs and/or CAMHS intervention may be sought.
AfC Virtual School has a range of interventions and support systems available to schools and students at risk of exclusion. We recommend partners contact us as soon as there are any concerns so that early interventions can be put in place and exclusions avoided.
Promoting the Education of Looked After Children, July 2014, guidance states that:
Where a school has concerns about a looked-after child’s behaviour, the VSH should be informed and, where necessary, involved at the earliest opportunity. This is to enable the VSH, working with others, to:
- consider what additional assessment and support (such as additional help for the classroom teacher, one-to-one therapeutic work or a suitable alternative placement) needs to be put in place to address the causes of the child’s behaviour and prevent the need for exclusion
- make any additional arrangements to support the child’s on-going education in the event of an exclusion.