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Exclusions from school

Children with special educational needs and/or disability are much more likely to be excluded from school than their classmates, according to SEND legal charity IPSEA, the Independent Parental Special Education Advice service.


padlocked fence

It says too many children and young people with SEN and disabilities are excluded illegally.  These might be unofficial or informal exclusions (even with parent or carer consent these are illegal.) 

These commonly include:

  • picking them up from school early,
  • collecting children at lunchtime to "cool off" or avoid an exclusion
  • not coming in on certain days
  • being in school on a part-time timetable.


Remember: any exclusion of a pupil, even for a short period of time, must be formally recorded.  And lunchtime exclusions must be recorded as a half day fixed exclusion.

UK charity Contact A Family has this advice:

It’s important to remember that a child can only be legally excluded from school for disciplinary reasons. A head teacher must formally tell parents that their child will be excluded by giving them details in writing. Any other exclusions are illegal. If you think your child may have been illegally excluded or you need advice on the exclusion process, visit CAF's exclusion webpage or contact its helpline on 0808 808 3555.

Know your rights - parents' guide

Do you know your parent and children's rights when it comes to accessing education for your chioldren with autism or other special educational needs?Find out more by reading Ambitious about Autism's parent guide. It sets out the legal duties around admissions, exclusions, disability discrimination, and a number of other areas relevant to children with autism missing out on education

General guidance

Other Resources

How to challenge an exclusion