Suspension from secondary school

A suspension (previously known as a fixed term exclusion) means that your child cannot attend school for a set number of days.

Who can suspend a pupil?

Only the headteacher (or acting headteacher in the headteacher’s absence) of a school can suspend a pupil and this must be on disciplinary grounds. All schools must have a published behaviour policy on the school website setting out the school rules.

How should I be informed?

Initially by telephone or in person and followed by a letter which should be sent to you without delay.

What should I be told in the letter?

You should be told the reason for the suspension, the number of days issued together with the dates of the suspension. If the information is not clear you can ask for more information. In addition to this information please see below.

For the first five school days of a suspension you are responsible and have a duty to make sure that your child, if he or she is of compulsory school age, is not found in a public place during school hours, without a good reason otherwise you may be given a fixed penalty notice (fine) or be prosecuted. The headteacher must notify you of the first five school days on which this duty applies and although your child is not allowed in school, the headteacher should take reasonable steps to set and mark work for your child during this period. If you do not receive any work, you should contact the school directly and ask for some.

If your child has been suspended for more than five school days in a single suspension or your child has received consecutive suspensions that total more than five school days, the school has a duty to arrange suitable full-time education for your child from the sixth school day until the end of the suspension. Information should include the start/finish dates, the address at which the education will be provided and the contact details of the education provider. You should also be informed of your right to make representations about the suspension to the governing boards disciplinary committee and who to contact.

Can I see my child's educational records?

Yes, if your child attends a maintained school. If your child attends an academy the rules differ so, please read further information on the ICO website.

What happens during the suspension process?

In the case of a suspension which does not bring your child’s total number of days suspension to more than five school days in a term, the governing board must consider any views you put forward (representations). There is no deadline for this meeting to be arranged, however, if this does occur then it should happen within a reasonable amount of time. If you do not wish to make any representations, the governing board can consider the reinstatement of your child.

If the suspension takes your child’s total number of days of suspension over five but less than 16 school days in a term and you wish to make representations, the governing board must consider and decide within 50 school days of receiving the notice of suspension whether your child should be reinstated. If you do not make any representations, the governing board can consider reinstatement on their own.

If the suspension takes your child’s total number of days out of school to more than 15 in a term, the governing board must consider and decide on the reinstatement of your child within 15 school days of receiving notice of the suspension from the headteacher. This meeting should be arranged for a date and time that is convenient to all parties and where relevant, the committee should make reasonable adjustments (e.g., due to a parent/pupil’s disability), to support the attendance and contribution of all at the meeting but within the relevant statutory time limits.

Where a suspension would result in your child missing a public examination or national curriculum test, there is a further requirement for the governing board. It must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consider and decide on the suspension before the date of the examination or test. If it is not practical for sufficient governors to consider the reinstatement before the examination or test, the chair of governors, in the case of a maintained school, may consider the suspension alone and can decide whether or not to reinstate your child. In the case of an academy your child’s reinstatement may be considered by a smaller sub-committee if the trust’s articles of association allow them to do so.

When should I contact the governing board to put my view forward?

As soon as possible.

Who is invited to the disciplinary hearing and allowed to make representations or share information?

  • parent or carers (and, where requested, a friend or representative). You may also wish to bring your child
  • the pupil if they are 18 years or older
  • the headteacher
  • a representative of the Local Authority (in the case of a maintained schools or PRU). For academy schools, parents may request that a representative of the Local Authority and/or the home Local Authority attend a meeting of the academy’s governing board as an observer. In this instance the Local Authority representative can only make representations with the governing board’s consent
  • the child's social worker if they have one
  • the Virtual School Headteacher if the child is a looked-after child (LAC)

How will I learn of the disciplinary committee's decision?

In writing. The reasons for its decision should be set out clearly to enable all parties to understand why the decision was made.            

What if I disagree with the disciplinary committee's decision?

There is no further appeal against a suspension.

For further advice and information please contact:

Behaviour and Exclusions Coordinator
Brighton Street
CH27 9FQ

Telephone 0151 666 4388 (direct Line)

If your child has special educational needs, you may receive support from Wirral SEND Partnership on 0151 522 7990.