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Exclusions and Managed Moves

Exclusions and Managed Moves

Exclusion is when a pupil is not allowed to attend school for a suspension period or permanently. Managed moves are a voluntary agreement between schools, parents/carers and pupils where a pupil changes school with support. Managed moves are sometimes used as an alternative to permanent exclusion.

Sometimes, exclusion or managed moves can work differently if a child has SEND, more information about this will be available on the Local Offer soon.

You can contact the Transition Support Service for further advice and support around exclusions and managed moves including:

  • facilitating dialogue between yourself and the school
  • support with meetings and discussions
  • helping you understand the options available to you and your child
  • support with the exclusions appeals process

You can also read the parent guidance on behaviour and exclusions.

We hope to include all the information you need to know about exclusions here, if you have a question which is not answered here, contact the Transition Support Service. If there is something that you think should be on the Local Offer about exclusions that isn't here, please contact us at [email protected] to let us know.

What kinds of exclusions are there?

There are two kinds of exclusion:


  • Suspension – This is where your child is temporarily removed from school. They can only be removed for up to 45 school days in one school year, even if they’ve changed school.

If a child has been excluded for a suspension period, schools should set and mark work for the first 5 school days.

If the exclusion is longer than five school days, the school must arrange suitable full-time education from the sixth school day, e.g., at a pupil referral unit.

  • Permanent – This is when a child cannot go back to that school unless the school’s governors change this decision. The local authority will arrange full-time education from the sixth school day. More information about what happens is below.

When can someone be excluded and what is an illegal exclusion?

Exclusions can happen when a headteacher decides that the pupil has seriously broken school rules. Under the law, head teachers can only exclude pupils for breaches of the school's behaviour policy. You should be able to find the behaviour policy on the school’s website. A headteacher can exclude your child if they misbehave in or outside school.

Exclusion should only be used as a last resort. This is when the headteacher feels that if the pupil stayed in school, it would do serious harm. This harm would be to the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

All school exclusions are governed by national guidance. Child Law Advice also provide further information about exclusions and the law.

Any other situation where a child is sent home from school for a reason other than being unwell (for example, informally being sent home to “cool off” after a behaviour issue or a part-time timetable) might be an illegal exclusion, as children are entitled to a full-time education. The National Autistic Society has useful information about what is considered an illegal exclusion. If you think your child may have been illegally excluded and want advice or want to challenge this, you can contact the Transition Support Service.

What happens after an exclusion?

If your child is excluded, the school will let you know about an exclusion as soon as possible. This will often be by phone first and then followed up with a formal letter. This letter will tell you how long your child is excluded for and why, and who will contact you to discuss your child’s future education if they have been permanently excluded. You should also be given advice about your rights and how you can challenge the exclusion if you want to.

For the first five school days of any exclusion, it’s your responsibility to make sure your child isn’t in a public place during normal school hours unless there is a good reason. You might be prosecuted if your child is found in a public place when they’re not supposed to be.

Childline have useful advice for children and young people about coping when you have been excluded from school.

If your child has been permanently excluded usually, someone from the Local Authority should talk to you about what will happen next and explain to you what the full-time education will look like. The local authority will arrange full-time education from the sixth school day which is appropriate for the child’s needs. Usually, after a permanent exclusion, a pupil will attend a Pupil-Referral Unit, which is a kind of Alternate Provision. If your child has been excluded from a Pupil-Referral Unit, it may be more complicated. You can find out more about Alternative Provision on the Government Website.

If you are waiting for more than 6 school days to get a new education place, or you are having difficulties with the process, you can contact the Attendance and Welfare Team or ask the Transitions Support Service for advice.

For a permanent exclusion, you will also be invited to a review meeting with the school’s governors within 15 school days. You and your child can use this meeting to state your case and try to challenge the exclusion if you want to, more information about challenging exclusions is below.

You can go to the government website to read more information about law and guidance around permanent exclusions.

What if I don't agree with an exclusion?

You have the right to challenge an exclusion if you do not agree with it. If your child is excluded, you will get a letter explaining what you can do if you disagree.

For a suspension, you can ask the school’s governing body to overturn the exclusion if either, your child has been excluded for more than 5 days or the exclusion means they’ll miss a public exam or national curriculum test. If the exclusion is for 5 days or fewer, you can still ask the governors to hear your views, but they can’t overturn the headteacher’s decision.


For a permanent exclusion, you will be invited to a review meeting with the school’s governors within 15 school days. You and your child will be given the chance to state your case at the meeting, and you are within your rights to be accompanied by someone to speak on your behalf, or to support you. If the governors don’t overturn the exclusion, you can ask for an independent review by the local authority (or academy trust if the school’s an academy). The governors must tell you how to do this.


If this is not successful and your child is still excluded, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman (or the Education Funding Agency if the school’s an academy or free school) to look at whether your case was handled properly. They can’t overturn the exclusion but can make suggestions to the school or Local Authority.

I think my child is at risk of being excluded - what do I do?

If your child is at risk of exclusion (whether they have been excluded before or not), there are things you, the school and relevant services can do to help. Students with a history of behaviour issues should receive support from school or in partnership with other agencies (like Early Help), to reduce the risk of exclusion.

Parents can ask how the school will support your child to prevent further exclusions and improve behaviour. The Government Guidance on Suspension and Permanent Exclusion says that early intervention should be used to address the causes of behaviour issues, including assessment of needs or what support can be offered. It also says that when pupils who have received multiple or long exclusions, head teachers should consider whether exclusions are effective and whether different approaches are needed. Alternatives to suspension would need to be considered and support plans implemented/reviewed.

If your child is excluded, you should also look to see what else your family is able to do to support your child and the school to achieve better outcomes. You can look at our Problems at school and getting help section for advice about dealing with behaviour problems, communicating with the school and which professionals can be involved in supporting you if your child has behaviour problems.

Exclusions and Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)

The school can exclude any pupil, even if they have SEND or an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP). However, if the child’s behaviour which is putting them at risk of exclusion is due to their SEND, the school should where possible identify and address the cause of the behaviour and provide support to reduce the problems to avoid an exclusion.

If a child has SEND but does not have an EHCP, what happens after an exclusion should be the same as for other pupils. IPSEA have some useful advice about what you can do after an exclusion to get the SEND support their child needs if your child does not have an EHCP.

If your child has an EHCP, it can be more complicated, but you can still take the usual steps to challenge an exclusion if you want to. The Local Authority must still make sure that the special educational provision set out in the EHC plan is provided after an exclusion. IPSEA has some useful advice about dealing with and challenging an exclusion if your child has an EHCP. These steps can be more helpful at getting the support your child needs than using the regular routes for challenging an exclusion.

If a pupil is excluded for behaviour related to their SEND, and the school can’t prove that the exclusion is made under appropriate grounds (like safety), the exclusion could be discriminatory. Find out more about disability discrimination here.

Under the Equality Act, schools must make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils to ensure they aren’t unfairly disadvantaged due to their disability. Their behaviour policy (including the parts about exclusion) should be written in a way that ensures disabled pupils aren’t unfair disadvantaged. Find out more about reasonable adjustments in our SEND Section.

If you need further help and advice, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) offer advice to parents and young people about SEND, including exclusions.

What is a managed move, and is it the right choice for my child?

Managed moves are a voluntary agreement between schools, parents/carers, and pupils where a pupil changes school with support. Managed moves are often used as an alternative to permanent exclusion so that no exclusion is logged on a pupil’s record. Managed moves can try to ensure a transition with minimal disruption to a child’s education and may be a more positive experience for families than the exclusion appeals process.

Parents and pupils should be fully involved in the process and agree before a managed move goes ahead. You can’t be threatened with an exclusion to accept a managed move.

A managed move may be suitable in the following situations:

  • where a pupil refuses to attend their current school;
  • where a pupil is at risk of permanent exclusion from their current school, a managed move can be a fresh start for a pupil where support is provided at the new educational placement;
  • where a pupil has Special Educational Needs (SEN) and is not making progress at their current school or the school is unable to meet the pupil’s needs. More information about this is in our SEND Section.

What do managed moves involve?

The process of a managed move can look different depending on the reason for the managed move, what support the pupil needs and how the parents, pupils and schools think it should happen. As managed moves are voluntary, there are no laws about their use and limited guidance.

What if a managed move doesn’t work?

If a managed move is agreed, there will usually be a plan agreed between the family, schools, and local authority for if the managed move isn’t successful. If the managed move process has broken down then the young person may be returned to the sending school and may be at risk of exclusion. However, sometimes the plan involves the Local Authority becoming responsible for the child’s education and the pupil attending a pupil referral unit.

The Transitions Support Servicecan offer advice and support about managed moves including helping you to understand the Managed Move process, support with meetings and discussions and arranging and or accompanying you to visit alternative provision and prospective schools. Child Law Advice and Just For Kids Law have further information and advice about Managed Moves.

For those attending the London East Alternative Provision (LEAP) and considering a Managed Move, further information about how this works is on their website here: Managed Moves - London East Alternative Provision (