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School exclusions - information and advice

Being excluded from school even for a short time (a fixed term exclusion) can be very distressing for a child or young person and for their parents or carers.

Certain procedures must be followed when a child or young person is excluded from a school or education setting.

Some of these procedures relate directly to pupils and students who have or may have special educational needs and or disabilities (SEND). 

It is important for schools and parents to understand the laws around school exclusions and that an exclusion must not be given to a child for behaviour related to or arising from having a disability. 

The Children's Commissioner has worked with Corram and young people to produce this short film.

Hackney Learning Trust has produced a guide on exclusions for parents: HLT school exclusions booklet

Hackney Learning Trust's "No need to exclude" strategy

Hackney Learning Trust have produced a guide for schools with regards to schools exclusions.

The "No need to exclude" strategy document is available in the download section of this page. 

Below you can find more information about help and support available to parents and schools if a child is at risk of being excluded or has been excluded from school.

Useful related documents are available in the downloads section of this page.

Page last updated:  16/04/18

The DfE guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusions...

The following information from "Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England - A guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusions" may be helpful for parents and others who are experiencing school exclusions.

"11. It is unlawful to exclude or to increase the severity of an exclusion for a non-disciplinary reason. For example, it would be unlawful to exclude a pupil simply because they have additional needs or a disability that the school feels it is unable to meet, or for a reason such as: academic attainment / ability; the action of a pupil’s parents; or the failure of a pupil to meet specific conditions before they are reinstated.

Pupils who repeatedly disobey their teachers’ academic instructions could, however, be subject to exclusion.

13. ‘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

18. Early intervention to address underlying causes of disruptive behaviour should include an assessment of whether appropriate provision is in place to support any SEN or disability that a pupil may have. Head teachers should also consider the use of a multi-agency assessment for pupils who demonstrate persistent disruptive behaviour. Such assessments may pick up unidentified special educational needs but the scope of the assessment could go further, for example, by seeking to identify mental health or family problems.

19. Where a pupil has received multiple exclusions or is approaching the legal limit of 45 school days of fixed period exclusion in an academic year, head teachers should consider whether exclusion is providing an effective sanction."

A link to the current guidance updated in 2017 is available in the external links section of this page.

What support is available for parents and carers?

Hackney Learning Trust has several services that look at difficulties children are experiencing at school in a wider context.

Some of these interventions are offered to schools to support them to try different approaches when working with children and young people. 

The local authorities School Exclusions Officer should be able to advise parents who they can speak to next.

Parents can contact:

Hackney Learning Trust's

School Exclusions Officer 

Phone: 020 8820 7279


Parents can get additional support to help discuss school exclusions and related issues from Hackney's Information Advice and Support service. 

Hackney SENDIAGS (SEND Information, Advice and Guidance Service) formerly known as Hackney Parent Partnership. 

SEND drop-in advice and support session information for parents and carers:

There are a range of drop in information sessions to support young people and or parents / carers who have children with SEND. 

Services providing drop in sessions include:

  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Educational Psychologists
  • SENDIAGS "Knowledge is Power" information sessions and face to face support sessions
  • Early Years condition specific SEND sessions 

Find out where and when drop in sessions are available: What's On? 

Parents and carers of children with SEND may also wish to contact their local parent/carer forum: 

Hackney Independent Forum for Parents/Carers of Children with Disabilities (HiP)

Forum for Hackney parents/carers, run by parents and carers for anyone whose child (0-25) has any kind of disability, SEN or additional needs.

HiP works with education, health and social care professionals and providers to try and get families’ voices heard wherever decisions are being made.

Phone: 07985739851

Find out more: Hackney Independent Forum for Parents/Carers of Children with Disabilities (HiP)

What support is available from the local authority for schools?

Restorative Approaches to Behaviour and Relationships

A restorative approach is a way of working with conflict that puts the focus on repairing the harm that has been done.

It includes all of the parties involved and asks:

  • what their involvement was
  • how the incident of conflict has affected them
  • agree what needs to be done for things to be put right
  • aims for a win-win, mutually beneficial outcome 

A restorative approach can be adopted where there is conflict and evidence shows it is very helpful in resolving issues in schools. 

Find out more about how restorative approaches are being implemented in Hackney:

You can also contact:

Name: Paul Kelly 


Phone: 020 8820 7551

Re-engagement Unit (REU)

The Re-engagement Unit is a service that helps and advises schools.

The aim of the service is to provide support for children whose behavior means that they are having difficultly engaging with learning, resulting in them being at risk of exclusion. 

The REU is made up of a team of multi-skilled education professionals who work with the child, families and other involved education professionals including:

  • teachers
  • learning mentors
  • family support workers
  • youth workers create positive change for the child.

The REU parents information and consent letter is available via the following link.  

Find out more: https: //

Hackney Learning Trust provides a wide range of services for schools and other settings to help them support pupils with additional needs and disabilities. These range from training for individuals and school staff to bespoke packages for specific children.

Many of these services have some free access to help schools and parents support children with SEND.

Find out more: Support and development SEND services for schools

How does the local authority intend to address school exclusions?

Introducing Hackney Learning Trusts – Proposal to reduce schools exclusions 2017 - 2019

Much work has been undertaken by schools, Hackney Learning Trust and other partners over the last few years to:

  • identify issues related to school exclusions
  • bring about cultural and attitudinal change
  • promote positive outcomes and wellbeing for all Hackney pupils and students

Underpinning the findings from this work is the ‘No Need to Exclude’ strategy published in September 2015.

Since launching the ‘No Need to Exclude’ strategy there have been:

  • reductions in fixed term exclusions in a number of schools where these had historically been very high
  • adoption of restorative practice at whole school level in several schools
  • participation in the managed moves scheme by the majority of Secondary schools,
  • identification of groups who are disproportionally represented in exclusions and within that a challenge to address this inequality
  • Increasing awareness amongst Governing Bodies that they can and, where appropriate, should challenge exclusions decision which are questionable
  • Continued development of the Re-engagement Unit with a positive impact on Primary behaviour and management strategies

Building on the positive outcomes of the “No Need To Exclude” strategy and within these latest proposals, Hackney Learning Trust seeks to encourage all schools to:

• promote the “No Need To Exclude” ethos

• develop greater liaison at transition

• develop school staff skills through training in cultural competency

• apply sanctions and regularly review the effectiveness of such arrangements

• adhere to recognised legal parameters

• sharing of good practice

Hackney Learning Trust’s – Proposal to reduce schools exclusions 2017 – 2019 describes how they intend to achieve these objectives and what schools will be expected to consider in achieving positive outcomes and wellbeing for all their pupils.

Find out more: Hackney Learning Trust’s – Proposal to reduce schools exclusions 2017 – 2019

School exclusions - organisations that provide support and legal advice...

The following organisations can provide advice and support for you and your child if you are experiencing difficulties related to exclusions: 

Hackney SEND Information, Advice and Guidance Service (SENDIAGS)

The Hackney SEND Information, Advice and Guidance Service (SENDIAGS) is an arm's length service providing impartial and confidential information, advice and support to parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) and young people and children with SEND

Find out more: Hackney SENDIAGS (SEND Information, Advice and Guidance Service)

Coram Children's Legal Centre

Child Law Advice is operated by Coram Children's Legal Centre. They provide specialist advice and information on child, family and education law.

The Child Law Advice Service provides legal advice and information on family, child and education law affecting children and families. Their service is provided via their website’s how to guides and information pages.

A dedicated intensive support telephone line is also available for complex matters and clarifying questions.

Coram - Schools exclusions

Coram - Disability Discrimination


BPP School exclusions project

This project is no longer running but the guide for young people below may still be helpful. 

Find out more: BPP A Young Person guide to exclusions

Just for Kids Law

Education Law - Just for Law KIDS help young people challenge exclusions from school and ensure young people receive support for their special educational needs.

This could include:

  • Providing advice and representation in relation to Education, Health and Care Plans and appeals.
  • Representation at Governors body hearings and independent review panels to families in some areas.

Find out more: Just for kids law


IPSEA are a national charity that provides independent free legal advice and support for parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN).

Find out more: IPSEA – Calling an early or emergency Annual Review

Find out more: IPSEA-School exclusion support and advice



National Autistic Society (NAS)

The Department for Education is funding the National Autistic Society to provide:

  • information and advice to parents
  • when a child or young person on the autism spectrum is excluded from school
  • is at risk of exclusion
  • to support professionals in early intervention strategies and good practice to avoid the need for exclusions

 Find out more: NAS School exclusions service



Communities Empowerment Network (CEN)

CEN has a group of staff and volunteer advocates who are on hand to provide advice and support if your child is experiencing problems at school, particularly with fixed term or permanent exclusion.

CEN office hotline: 020 7733 0297 

Find out more: Communities Empowerment Network (CEN)


Other useful information....

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