Behaviour, discipline and exclusion

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At a glance

Guidance about your child’s behaviour at school – including what’s expected, detention, exclusion and parenting orders.

Your child's behaviour – what's expected

For a school to function and run smoothly, children need to be well-behaved and respectful, so every school has a discipline policy written by the headteacher. Messages about good behaviour and respect for others need to be reinforced at home as well as at school.

All schools encourage parents to work with them on problems concerning a child’s behaviour. Schools have several standard ways of tackling unacceptable behaviour, and they will report any action to you.

What is 'detention'?

Headteachers and teachers make school rules clear to pupils. If your child breaks the rules, especially more than once, they may get a detention. This usually means staying behind after school to do extra work. You must be given at least 24 hours’ written notice before your child goes into detention.

What is 'exclusion'?

Only the headteacher can exclude your child from school. There are two types of exclusion that the headteacher may decide on.

Temporary exclusion (also known as suspension) means your child is excluded from school on a short-term basis because of bad behaviour.

The first time an exclusion is made, it has to be temporary and can only last up to five days. The maximum number of days a child can be excluded in any school year is 45. Sometimes pupils are excluded during particular times in the school day – for example, in lunch breaks.

Permanent exclusion (also known as expulsion) means your child is permanently removed from the school. The only way a pupil can return to a school after being permanently excluded is if they’re reinstated by the governing body or you successfully appeal against their case.

If your child is permanently excluded from school, the local authority must provide suitable alternative education. This may be in another school, in a Pupil Referral Unit, or with a home tutor.

Making an appeal against an exclusion

If your child is excluded and you feel the decision is unfair, you can put your case to the governing body. If they uphold the exclusion order, you can go further by appealing to an independent panel.

What is a parenting order?

If a pupil is excluded permanently, or twice in less than a year, and the school believes the parents’ attitude has been a factor in the child’s misbehaviour, the school can apply for a parenting order. This is a court order requiring parents to attend parenting classes or take positive actions to improve their child’s behaviour.

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