The decision to exclude must be lawful, rational, reasonable, fair and proportionate.

A pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods, up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year. They can also be excluded permanently. 

A decision to permanently exclude a pupil should only be taken:

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

In exceptional cases, a fixed-period exclusion can be extended or become a permanent exclusion. This is usually where further evidence has come to light. 

This information is set out in statutory guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) which applies to all maintained schools, academies, and pupil referral units in England. The guidance also applies to pupils above or below compulsory school age, such as those attending nursery classes or sixth forms. The guidance is based on the School Discipline (Pupil Exclusions and Reviews) (England) Regulations 2012. 

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