Is the exclusions section of your behaviour policy up to date?

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25 May 2017

Schools are encouraged to review their behaviour policy and exclusions policy, if you have a separate document, as it has become apparent that some policies may not currently be compliant with DfE guidelines regarding fixed-term and permanent exclusions.

DfE requirements

When the head teacher imposes an exclusion, whether fixed-term or permanent, the DfE requires that it is for either a :

  • Serious breach or
  • Persistent breaches of the behaviour policy.

In essence, if the behaviour/incident is not listed in your policy as a type of behaviour/incident that could lead to an exclusion, it could be considered an unlawful exclusion. Then, if reviewed by governors, they would have to conclude that the head teacher’s decision did not meet part 1 of what is known as the ‘twofold test’.

Behaviour policy requirements

Even if the aim is to avoid the need for exclusions, your behaviour policy:

  • Should specify what might lead to an exclusion being imposed
  • Must show a clear link between the incident and the sanction(s) outlined in your behaviour policy and
  • Should be clearly communicated to pupils and parents so that they would know that xxx incident may lead to permanent exclusion.

Types of Exclusions

Fixed-term exclusion:

Imposed in response to breaches of the behaviour policy, including persistent disruptive behaviour, where these are not considered sufficiently serious to warrant a permanent exclusion but where lesser sanctions such as detention/internal exclusion are considered inappropriate.

Permanent exclusion:

For persistent breaches of the behaviour policy i.e. as a final step in a process for dealing with unacceptable behaviour and following a wide range of strategies that have been tried without success, it is an acknowledgement that the school has exhausted all available strategies.

Serious breach

For a serious breach of the behaviour policy: i.e. there may be circumstances where it is appropriate to permanently exclude a pupil for a first or ‘one off’ serious offence, such as:

  • Involvement with an offensive weapon
  • Supply or intent to supply an illegal substance
  • Serious actual or threatened violence against another pupil or a member of staff
  • Sexual misconduct.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive but rather to provide examples of the type of behaviour/incident that might lead to permanent exclusion.

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Last updated: 25 May 2017

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