Advice to Schools (including revised Kirklees Notification Form - to be used from September 2022)+
Schools should complete the above form if a decision to permanently exclude is made. The form must be returned to the Education Safeguarding Team without delay.
Exclusions Team. Two Inclusion Managers offer the following guidance and support, see contact details below:
- Gives advice to schools, parents and carers and other professionals on statutory and non-statutory exclusion processes
- Maintains an exclusions helpline 5 days per week
- Offers training to Governors and school staff on their statutory responsibilities connected to school exclusion
- Offers advice to support schools in the use of alternatives to exclusion, such as a managed move, referral to AP, phased reintegration and referrals to other supporting services
- Advises and guides governors on all aspects of exclusion law
- Attends permanent and over 15 days exclusion Governing Board Meetings in maintained schools and where invited for Academy schools, as appropriate
- Attends Independent Review Panel Hearings
Contact details for the Exclusion Team:
Allison Langdale – 07803508295
Tracy Rider – 07548218459
What has changed in the revised Exclusion Guidance 2022+
Update from The School Bus July 2022 – Overview
The DfE has updated its statutory guidance on ‘Suspension and Permanent Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England, including pupil movement’ – the 2022 version of the guidance comes into force on 1 September 2022. The updated guidance follows a consultation on proposed changes that ran between February and March 2022. This article breaks down what you need to know about the changes.
The key points are as follows:
- The term ‘fixed-period exclusion’ has been changed to ‘suspension’ throughout
- Schools should not adopt a ‘no exclusion’ policy
- The guidance includes a list of behaviours that may warrant a suspension or exclusion
- There is more detailed guidance on off-rolling and unlawful exclusions
- Schools should consider other guidance alongside the exclusion guidance
- [New]The majority of legislative changes proposed in the consultation have not been made
- [Updated]Headteachers will retain the power to end suspensions early and withdraw exclusions
- [New]The DfE will not set a deadline for informing parents of suspensions and exclusions
- [Updated]Headteachers will need to inform social workers and virtual school heads (VSHs) about exclusions
- [Updated]Virtual meetings could be a permanent option for exclusion panels
- [Updated]Good practice guidance on the use of off-site direction and managed moves is included
- [New]The DfE will consult on a new framework for pupil movement
- [New]The need to reintegrate returning pupils effectively has been emphasised
- [Updated]There is guidance for governors on using data on suspensions and exclusions
- [New]The updated guidance clarifies the involvement of pupils
- [Updated]The DfE will continue to explore the impact of reducing the exclusion limit
- [New]Respondents were asked about education provision following suspensions and exclusions
- [Updated]The DfE will consider whether suspension for safeguarding reasons is appropriate
Read on to learn more about each key point.
The term ‘fixed-period exclusion’ has been changed to ‘suspension’ throughout
One of the main terminology changes is changing references to ‘fixed-period exclusions’ to ‘suspensions’. A new definition of ‘suspend’ has also been included.
Schools should not adopt a ‘no exclusion’ policy
The updated guidance states that schools and LAs should not adopt ‘no exclusion’ policies. The DfE has said this can lead to incentives for schools not to exclude pupils, even when an exclusion is the best option to make sure the pupil can receive the support they need, and could present safeguarding issues and expose staff and pupils to unreasonable risks.
The guidance states that schools should instead work to create an environment where exclusions are not necessary because pupils’ behaviour does not require it.
The guidance includes a list of behaviours that may warrant a suspension or exclusion
The guidance includes a new section which sets out some behaviours that may warrant a suspension or exclusion, including physical assault and verbal abuse. The DfE has stated that the list is not exhaustive.
The guidance also sets out that schools must provide information via the school census on pupils subject to any type of suspension or permanent exclusion in the previous two terms, and that up to three reasons can be recorded where applicable.
There is more detailed guidance on off-rolling and unlawful exclusions
The guidance contains more detailed information about off-rolling and unlawful exclusions, outlining more examples of what could be considered one of these practices. The guidance also states that Ofsted considers any evidence of off-rolling and is likely to judge a school as ‘inadequate’ if there is evidence of off-rolling.
Schools should consider other guidance alongside the exclusion guidance
A new paragraph states that the suspension and exclusion guidance should not be read in isolation. The DfE has outlined a number of guidance documents that the exclusion advice should be read alongside, including ‘Behaviour in Schools’ and ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (KCSIE).
The guidance also directly refers to KCSIE in new paragraphs about managing safeguarding incidents when it has been reported that a pupil has abused another pupil.
[New] The majority of legislative changes proposed in the consultation have not been made
In the consultation outcome, the DfE states that there was “broad support for most of the proposals on both sets of guidance alongside useful recommendations for consideration”. Most of the legislative changes to the department’s statutory guidance on suspensions and exclusions, however, have not been made.
[Updated] Headteachers will retain the power to end suspensions early and withdraw exclusions
In the consultation, the DfE proposed a legislative change to prevent headteachers from ending a suspension earlier than the agreed end date once it has begun. Headteachers would also be prevented from ending a permanent exclusion once it had begun.
[New] Feedback on this proposal focussed on the lack of flexibility this would cause should there be a justified reason to end an exclusion or suspension – for example, if additional information came to light that suggested pupils had been excluded or suspended unjustly. Some respondents also suggested the change would limit headteachers’ ability to use their professional judgement and prevent schools from responding to pupils’ safeguarding needs.
[New] Based on this feedback, the DfE opted not to go forward with this legislative change; instead, the guidance sets out clear processes for recording withdrawn exclusions, discussing the withdrawal with parents, and allowing pupils to return to the school should their parents wish it. This process is referred to as ‘cancelling an exclusion’.
[New] The DfE will not set a deadline for informing parents of suspensions and exclusions
The previous guidance introduced an obligation for the headteacher to notify parents of their child’s suspension or exclusion, the reasons for this, and the period of any suspension ‘without delay’. In the consultation, the DfE proposed that the guidance would specify that in no circumstances must this take longer than three days to be done.
The proposal received mixed feedback: some respondents felt a three-day maximum period contradicted the need to inform parents ‘without delay’, i.e. immediately or on the same school day, while others felt that three days was not a sufficient timescale to conduct thorough investigation.
Due to this mixed feedback, the DfE opted not to introduce a fixed deadline for informing parents of suspensions and exclusions.
[Updated] Headteachers will need to inform social workers and virtual school heads (VSHs) about exclusions
Under the proposals in the consultation, the headteacher’s duty to inform relevant professionals of their decision to suspend or exclude a pupil will be extended. This means that headteachers would need to inform a pupil’s social worker and/or the VSH where relevant – these parties would also need to be kept informed throughout the exclusion process.
[New] A large majority of respondents agreed with this proposal, so the DfE has proceeded with it in the revised guidance.
[Updated] Virtual meetings could be a permanent option for exclusion panels
Following the introduction of virtual meetings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the consultation sought views on whether virtual meetings should be made a permanent option for governing boards and independent review panels.
[New] The majority of respondents stated that virtual meetings should continue to be an option, but several also raised concerns about technical difficulties, access issues, and potential disagreement within the parties involved as to whether meetings should be virtual or in person.
[New] Because of this disagreement, the DfE has opted to “give further careful consideration” to this proposal “before taking any further action”.
[Updated] Good practice guidance on the use of off-site direction and managed moves is included
The DfE proposed to include more information about off-site direction and managed moves in the revised guidance, to make sure the use of these early invention measures is clearly outlined.
[New] Given the broad support for this proposal, the DfE retained the sections on both off-site direction (beginning page 20) managed moves (beginning page 22) in the final version of the guidance.
[New] The DfE will consult on a new framework for pupil movement
The DfE asked respondents for their thoughts on introducing stricter oversight of pupil movement between education settings, such as a revised statutory framework.
While no changes related to this have been implemented in the updated guidance, the DfE will use feedback on this proposal to inform its wider work on pupil movement, and will consult on a new legislative framework for how pupils move between education settings.
[New] The need to reintegrate returning pupils effectively has been emphasised
The consultation asked for respondents to outline their approaches to reintegrating pupils into mainstream settings following a period of suspension or off-site direction.
The updated guidance further emphasises the need for pupil and parental involvement, multi-agency collaboration, pastoral and academic support, and the offer of a fresh start to the suspended pupil.
[Updated] There is guidance for governors on using data on suspensions and exclusions
In the draft guidance, the DfE provided information on how governing boards should use data on suspensions and exclusions. Governors are advised to carefully consider the level of pupil moves and the characteristics of pupils who are moving on any exclusions to ensure pupils are only being excluded when necessary, as a last resort.
Governors should also review suspensions, permanent exclusions, pupils taken off roll, and pupils who are on roll but attending education off-site. MATs are advised to work with their academies to consider this data and whether there are patterns across academies in the trust.
[New] This approach to data use received broad support, so has been retained in the updated guidance.
[New] The updated guidance clarifies the involvement of pupils
The revised guidance set out when and where pupils should be included in the suspension and exclusion process; in the consultation, respondents were asked if this was sufficiently clear.
The majority of respondents agreed, with a small proportion providing additional suggestions or requesting more explicit clarification. The updated guidance takes this into account.
[Updated] The DfE will continue to explore the impact of reducing the exclusion limit
Under current rules, the limit on the total number of days a pupil can be suspended in an academic year is 45 school days. The consultation sought views on whether this limit should be changed and what the impact of reducing this limit would be.
Respondents were split on whether this limit should be changed, so the DfE will be exploring the issue further using the feedback before making any changes.
[New] Respondents were asked about education provision following suspensions and exclusions
The consultation also asked about:
- Continuity of education during suspensions and exclusions.
- Barriers to providing alternative provision (AP).
- How many school days schools should be required to provide AP.
The feedback from these questions will inform the DfE’s wider SEND provision and AP reforms going forward.
[Updated] The DfE will consider whether suspension for safeguarding reasons is appropriate
The guidance draft set out that the DfE needs to consider whether it is appropriate to suspend a pupil based on safeguarding reasons, rather than just disciplinary reasons. This is being consulted on following a recent High Court case which ruled that pupils can be suspended for safeguarding reasons.
As this received mixed feedback from respondents, the DfE will continue to consider the wider impact of the High Court’s judgement before making changes.
- Read the consultation response in full here.
- Read the updated guidance on suspension and exclusion here.
Advice for Parents & Carers+
All permanent exclusions must be considered by the Governing Board and parents have the right to make representations at this meeting. If the Governing Board refuses readmission of an excluded pupil, parents can request for this decision to be reviewed by an Independent Review Panel.
Parents can contact the following places for advice:
Child Law Advice (a registered charity) – ‘provide information about when a child can be excluded and the obligations of the school to review an exclusion and the right to appeal an exclusion’. Child Law Advice on School Exclusions KIAS (Kirklees Information Advice and Support Service) Tel: 0300 330 1504 Website: http://www.kias.org.uk/ SENACT (SEN Assessment and Commissioning Team) Tel: 01484 456888 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The National Autistic Society The National Autistic Society produce detailed information for parents on their website. Advice from the National Autistic Society
NEW - DFE definition of challenging behaviour (September 2021)+
The government confirmed its final definition of “challenging behaviour,” which the code currently lacks, in a bid to stop it being “misused.”
It reads: “Behaviour can be described as challenging where it would be unlikely to be responsive to the usual range of interventions to help prevent and address pupil misbehaviour or it is of such severity, frequency, or duration that it is beyond the normal range that schools can tolerate.
“We would expect this behaviour to significantly interfere with the pupil’s/other pupils’ education or jeopardise the right of staff and pupils to a safe and orderly environment.”
Most respondents agreed with the government’s definition, but 13 per cent disagreed. Some said challenging behaviour reflected unmet pupil needs; some that the threshold was too high; others that it was not prescriptive enough.
How to deal with challenging behaviour in the classroom
Tips, strategies and causes plus an online CPD course (Managing behaviour that challenges – £20)
Reducing avoidable exclusions - support materials+
‘Creating an inclusive culture in schools for all children is both an economic and social imperative. The number of children and young people permanently excluded from state schools has grown at an alarming rate and this is affecting those who are most vulnerable in society’.
Reducing avoidable school exclusions: a panel exploring the strategic role of governors (see webinar below)
Presentation slides from the webinar (a panel including Edward Timpson MP)
The role of governors in a fair and robust exclusions process
Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England (DFE 2019/20 dataset)+
Headline fact and figures from the 2019/20 academic year
The figures presented cover the 2019/20 academic year. This year was interrupted by with the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020, during the spring term. Schools remained open for vulnerable children and children of key workers.
While permanent exclusions and suspensions were still possible throughout the academic year, school closures have had a substantial effect on the number of permanent exclusions and suspension and therefore caution should be taken when comparing figures across years.
- The rate of permanent exclusions has decreased from 0.10 in 2018/19 to 0.06. This is the equivalent of 6 in every 10,000 pupils.
- At 5,100, there were almost 3,000 fewer permanent exclusions in 2019/20 than in 2018/19.
- The rate of suspensions has decreased from 5.36 in 2017/19 to 3.76, a fall in numbers from 438,000 to 310,000. This is the equivalent of 376 in every 10,000 pupils.
- Looking at Autumn term only: there were 3,200 permanent exclusions in 2019/20 (up 5% from 2018/19) and there were 178,400 suspensions (up 14%).
- Persistent disruptive behaviour continues to be the most common reason for permanent exclusions and suspensions (both 34%).
The link below presents statistics on permanent exclusions and suspensions within the 2019/20 academic year across state-funded schools.
Useful Documents and Information - 2021/22
- Exclusions Contact 2021
- Kirklees - Exclusion from a Maintained School (Parent/Carer Information)
- Kirklees - Exclusion from an Academy (Parent/Carer Information)
- The Key (Exclusion Process Flow Chart for Governors)
- Governors’ Exclusion Review Deliberations Checklist
- Role of the GDC
- Permanent Exclusion (Model letter to parents 2020)
- The Key (Model Exclusion Letters)
- Model Letter (GDC Decision not to reinstate)
- Parent Guide to Fair Access 2022
- FAP Preference Sheet
- DFE Exclusion/Suspension Codes
- Model Policy (Suspensions & exclusions) from The Key