Suspensions/Exclusions from School Update

During the last year the Department for Education revised how they refer to Exclusions from school.  From the Autumn term 2021 a fixed period exclusion will now be referred to a suspension; references to Permanent exclusions remain unchanged.

Also, in the Autumn 2020 they revised the suspension/exclusion codes to include some additional codes and removed the use of OT (Other) – please see Useful documents below.

They also issued New Temporary Guidance to schools regarding suspensions/exclusions from schools, which particularly related to the period during the Coronavirus outbreak.  These details were issued to schools in June 2020 and have been updated in June 2021 with particular reference to any suspension/exclusion that have/or will be issued between 5 September 2020 and 24 September 2021 (inclusive of those dates) and relates to:-

  • Remote meetings
  • Applications for independent Review – parent/carers should now have 25 school days to make representation
  • Possible extensions to meeting deadlines for Governing Bodies and IRPs

The new guidance can be found here

Suspension/Exclusions Guidance

Statutory guidance from the DfE sets out what schools and local authorities must do to comply with the law:

 It would be helpful to read the statutory guidance alongside:

Fixed-Term suspensions and Permanent Exclusions

School leaders must be mindful of the fact that the law does not allow for extending a fixed-period suspension or ‘converting’ a fixed-period suspension into a permanent exclusion. In exceptional cases, usually where further evidence has come to light, a further fixed-period suspension may be issued to begin immediately after the first period ends. Alternatively, a permanent exclusion may be issued to begin immediately after the end of the fixed period.
The Decision to Exclude

In line with paragraph 16 of the statutory guidance, a decision to exclude a pupil permanently should only be taken:

  • in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school's behaviour policy; and
  • where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

School leaders must ensure that both criteria are fulfilled before issuing a permanent exclusion and that any explanation for the exclusion clearly references how they have been met; failure to do so will likely lead to robust challenge by Independent Review.

Schools are reminded again of the need to ensure that in the event of a child being excluded they must be supervised on school premises until they have been collected by a parent or carer or, mainly in the case of secondary children, parents have given formal verbal consent to allow their child to walk home unaccompanied.
Local Authority Support

To ensure schools comply with statutory guidance issued by the DfE, we recommend use of forms, templates and model letters developed by the Local Authority (see below).
Suspensions/Exclusion should be used as a last resort after all other options have been investigated. The NYCC 
Ladder of Intervention provides structured, step-by-step guidance for schools to support individual pupils who have social and emotional needs manifesting in challenging behaviour that could lead to an suspension/exclusion. The guidance details a graduated response to ensure early help is in place to support children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, including those that are at risk of suspension/exclusion. Before taking the decision to suspend/exclude, consider the following:


  • What whole-school approaches and provision are in place to support this pupil?

e.g. whole school behaviour policy and inclusive practice to support behaviour for learning, quality first teaching, etc. Are school policies inclusive or do they discriminate against particular pupils with specific needs?

  •  What measures or strategies has the school put in place to support this specific pupil?

e.g. behaviour plan, specific learning support, mental health and wellbeing advice, etc.

Have support and intervention been put in place and has enough time been allowed for the intervention or support to take effect?

  •  If there have been multiple, repeat suspensions/exclusions for similar reasons (e.g. abusive behaviour, drug use, etc.) what has been put in place to successfully address the causes? Where the school is repeatedly suspending/excluding for the same reason, this could indicate unmet needs.
  •  What support has been sought from outside agencies, including the Local Authority? Through its universal and targeted provision, the LA provides access to a range of services. Has school accessed any of the following?
  • SEND guidance (for pupils with Special Educational Needs or a Disability)
  • Ladder of Intervention
  • SEND Assessment (leading to an Education Health and Care Plan)
  • Local Behaviour Collaborative or the Pupil Referral Service (PRS)
  • Referral to the Locality Hubs to support additional educational and/or social, emotional and mental health needs
  • Advice and support from an Educational Psychologist, the Early Help Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Youth Justice Service or Children’s Social Care
  • An Early Help (EH) Assessment and Action Plan


Useful Documents (updated August 2021)

NYCC Introduction 

Exclusion Guidance

Universal Form - School's Request for Service Form Early Help

Template Letters

Clerking Pupil Discipline

EX1FT - Suspension Notification Form - Fixed

EX1P - Exclusion Notification Form - Permanent

Suspension Exclusion - Pupil Statement Form

Suspension Exclusion Process Checklist

Suspension Exclusion Reason Code

Letter to Governors Upholding Permanent Exclusion

NYCC Model Exclusion Policy 2021

Guidance on Actions and Responsibilities

Governor Summary
Headteacher Summary
LA Summary

Contact Us
Early Help Contact Details

Suspension/Exclusion Contact Details