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Children not in school

My child has been given a fixed term exclusion, what does this mean and what is the process?

A Fixed Term Exclusion (FTE) from school means that a pupil is not allowed in school for a set number of days for disciplinary reasons.

Only the head teacher (or their designated representative) can exclude a pupil and this must be on disciplinary grounds in accordance with the school behaviour policy and Department For Education (DFE) statutory guidance.  Parents must be informed in writing and an FTE must have a start and end date. Whilst a pupil has a fixed term exclusion they should not be on the school premises or be in a public place unsupervised during school hours.

For any FTE over 6 days, school must provide suitable supervised education from day 6. The arrangements for this, including the address of the school or provision, start and finish times and information for the pupil must be included in the letter.

A fixed period exclusion can also be for parts of the school day – for example a half-day session of a lunchtime period.  Lunchtime exclusions are counted as a half day exclusion for statistical purposes.

Schools should have a strategy for re-integrating pupils who return to school following a fixed term exclusion and for manging their future behaviour and support needs.

How long can a child be excluded for in a term?

A pupil can be excluded for up to 45 days in an academic year. If a pupil, is excluded for over 15 days within one term, the exclusion must be reviewed by the school governing body within 15 days. The following parties should be invited to a meeting of the governing body and allowed to make representations:

  • Parents (and where requested a representative or friend)
  • The head teacher
  • A representative of the local authority (in the case of a maintained school)


My child has been permanently excluded what can I do?

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

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

The decision to exclude a pupil must be lawful, reasonable and fair.  Head teachers will usually only permanently exclude after a series of interventions to support the pupil.  However, there may be exceptional circumstances where one instance leads to a permanent exclusion.

School should inform parents in writing of the decision to permanently exclude.  For the first 5 days of the exclusion school should set and provide work for the pupil to complete at home.  From day 6 the pupil’s home Local Authority are responsible for providing suitable education.

School governors must meet with 15 school days to review the permanent exclusion. The following parties should be invited to a meeting of the governing body and allowed to make representations:

  • Parents (and where requested a representative or friend)
  • The head teacher
  • A representative of the local authority (in the case of a maintained school)

If you are preparing for a governor’s disciplinary committee you may want to consider any special circumstances such as:

  • Emotional and/or behavioural difficulties
  • Learning difficulties/special educational needs
  • Changes in personal circumstances
  • Your son/daughter’s views of the incident(s)
  • Any concerns over bullying, racial or sexual harassment or discrimination, inside or outside school

Governors can uphold the decision (and parents would be offered the right to an independent review) or they can decide to offer re-instatement to the school.

Exclusions Information
and Guidance for
Parents and Carers

When can a child be excluded and is this different for children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability?

It is unlawful to exclude 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 schools feels it is unable to meet. Under the Equality Act 2010 schools must not discriminate against, harass or victimise pupils because of sex; race; disability; religion or belief; sexual orientation; pregnancy / maternity; or gender reassignment.  For disabled children, this includes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to policies and practices.

Department For Education (DFE) guidance states that head teachers should, as far as possible, avoid permanently excluding any pupil with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or a looked after child.

Where a pupil has an EHCP school should consider requesting an early annual review or interim / emergency review before making the decision to permanently exclude.  However, a head teacher can still permanently exclude a child with an EHCP if they can demonstrate disciplinary grounds.

What do I do if a disagree with an exclusion?

For either a permanent exclusion or any fixed term exclusion that means a pupil has been excluded for over 15 days in one term, parents are able to make representations at a meeting of the school governing body (see a above).

If Governors uphold a permanent exclusion, parents have the right to request an independent review of the exclusion where they can make further representations to an independent panel, including an SEN expert.

If a pupil is excluded for more than 5 but less than 15 days in a term, parents can make written representations to the school governing body.  They must consider these representations within 50 school days and decide if the excluded pupil, should be re-instated.

If the case of a fixed term exclusion, which does not bring the pupil’s total number of days exclusion to more than 5 in a term. The governing must consider any representations made by parents, but it cannot direct reinstatement and is not required to arrange a meeting with parents.

Parents can also refer to the school’s complaints procedures.

What is an illegal exclusion?

Informal or ‘unofficial’ exclusions, such as sending a pupil 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.

Schools should not pressurise a family to withdraw their son/daughter from their school or find an alternative school placement if they are at risk of permanent exclusion.

What is home education?

Elective Home Education (EHE) is the term used by the Department for Education (DfE) to describe parental decisions to provide education for their children at home instead of sending them to school.

As a parent/carer, you have a duty to provide an education for your child. Most parents/carers choose to provide this education by sending their child to school but, for a variety of reasons, some decide to educate their child themselves.

This is called opting for Elective Home Education and it is very different from alternative provision provided by the Local Authority, because your child will not appear on any school roll. It is a perfectly legal choice and parents/carers are not required to have formal qualifications to educate their child at home. It is however a major responsibility for a family, requiring qualities such as dedication, patience, enthusiasm and flexibility.

When home educating, parents/carers are 100% responsible for their child’s education and do not receive any support – apart from advice – from the local authority. If parents/carers at any time wish to stop home education, they can apply for a school place and the Local Authority will help them transition the child into school.

For further information on elective home education please click on the following link: Home Education

I wish to home educate what do I need to do?

The first step is to look at the Notts County Council ‘Guidance Notes for Parents/Carers’ thinking of home educating. Just click on the icon:

Elective Home Education in Nottinghamshire








The next step might be to contact the Notts County Council Elective Home Education team at County Hall on 0115 9772573 or . A team member will be able to help you with further information and advice on your particular situation.

For extra information, you could research home education in Nottinghamshire on the internet, where you will find local groups of home educators who will also be able to offer information and advice



What is Education Otherwise than at School (EOTAS)

Education Otherwise Than At School (EOTAS) includes all forms of education that take place outside of the formal school environment. This includes children who are electively home education and children where arrangements are made for them to access alternative provision. For example where this is arranged by school as an alternative to mainstream education, following permanent exclusion from school, and those who for illness or other reasons would not receive suitable education without such arrangements being in place.



What is alternative education?

Alternative education provision is used by the local authority and Schools (including Learning Centres, free schools and academies) for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not receive suitable education; it is also used by schools for pupils on fixed period exclusion or pupils being directed by schools to off-site provision to improve their behaviour. Alternative providers offer an alternative educational package to that offered in a mainstream school setting, but will still have a focus on English, maths and science (functional skills).

Alternative providers can range from being small educational settings to larger registered independent schools. Schools and the local authority are responsible for ensuring that the provisions they use are educationally suitable and comply with national guidance and legislation.

Access to alternative provision is normally through a school or the local authority. Parents and carers cannot directly refer to an alternative provision. This is because most pupils will remain on roll at their mainstream school and the school will pay for their provision. However, alternative provision free schools and alternative provision independent schools may have their own admission processes.




How can I access alternative education for my child?

Alternative provision is usually made by schools when they feel that school is an innapropriate route to meet a student's needs. Although parents can talk to their child's school about alternative provision as a possible option it is not usually possible for a parental application to be made directly to an alternative provider.

In certain circumstances detailed above Nottinghamshire County Council can make alternative provision arrangements for students who are without a school place or access to education. Nottinghamshire County Council maintains a directory of alternative providers who have undergone a tendering and quality assurance process to become registered and this is made available to schools on request.


My child cannot obtain a school place, what can I do?

Follow the advice contained on the Council’s School Admissions webpage, which explains how to make school applications and what will happen next. Your child may be referred to Nottinghamshire County Council’s Fair Access Team if there are specific difficulties in securing a school place and further information about the role of this team is also available on the Council’s School Admissions webpage.

My child refuses to attend school, what can I do?

Talk to your child's school or education provider - either their class teacher, school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) or head of year/house in secondary school. They can help you to agree a plan to support your child returning to school. They may also be able to suggest other services that could support you and your child.

If you feel that your child is experiencing anxiety or a mental health issue that is impacting on their attendance approach your GP surgery and ask for an appointment with a practice nurse, GP or the healthy families team.

To find further related advice and guidance you can also click on the following Frequently Asked Questions pages: My child is struggling at school and Mental health and anxiety


My child is unable to attend school because of illness. What support will they get to continue with their education?

For further information on support if your child is absent from school due to illness please click on the following link: Support due to Illness

Where I can get further information, advice and support?

ASK US Nottinghamshire offer free impartial and confidential information, advice and support for parents/carrers of children/young people with special educational needs and disabilities. They can offer telephone support also face to face support can be arranged if appropriate e.g. help with completing certain forms, writing letters and attending school meetings.

Their helpline operates Mon, Weds & Fri 9:00 - 13:00. Tues & Thurs 13:00 - 17:00

Tel: 0800 121 7772 or email:



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