When can I be excluded from school?

You can be excluded if (and only if):

  • Your parent does not comply (or does not allow you to comply) with the rules of the school; or
  • If your attendance at school “would be likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school or the educational well-being of the pupils there”.

Can my school tell me I’m not being excluded but just being sent home?

Sending you home is still an exclusion and the school has to follow the rules on exclusion. So, if your school uses words like “temporary exclusion”, “suspension”, informal exclusion”, “cooling off period” or “sending you home”, you are still being excluded and the rules of exclusion still apply.

What rules do the school have to follow if they are excluding me?

On the day the school decides to exclude you they must write to or speak to your parent(s) to tell them about:

  • Their decision to exclude you
  • The date, time and place of a meeting (within 7 days of deciding to exclude you) with the headteacher, or teacher, or education authority official to talk about the exclusion.
Within 8 days of making the decision to exclude you, the school must write to you, if you are over school leaving age, or to your parent(s), if you are of school age, setting out:
  • The reasons for excluding you
  • Any conditions to be met before your readmission to school
  • The right to appeal against the decision to exclude you
  • Where to send an appeal
  • Any other appropriate information
If you are readmitted to school within 7 days and you, if you are over school age, or your parent(s), if you are of school age, have told the school that there will be no appeal made against the decision to exclude you, then the school does not have to send a letter setting out the matters in the list above.

Can I appeal against the school’s decision to exclude me?

Yes, if you are unhappy with the decision to exclude you, you can appeal to your local Education Appeal Committee (EAC)

Who can appeal?

Your parent, if you are of school age. You, if you are over school age, or if you are of school age and you have a general understanding of what it means to instruct a solicitor.

When can I appeal?

There is no time limit for making an appeal, but, once it has been made, it must be heard by the Education Appeal Committee (“EAC”) within a month.

What happens next?

The EAC can confirm the exclusion and can modify the conditions for readmission or the EAC can annul (or overturn) the exclusion. It cannot change the length of an exclusion. You or your parent(s) have a further right of appeal to the Sheriff.

What happens about my education while I am excluded from school?

Local authorities must make alternative education provision for you if you are excluded from school. This can be in another school, or through out of school teaching.

What is meant by “over school age”?

If you are 16 between 1 March and 30 September, you are over school age from the summer leaving date (31 May) of that year. If you are 16 between 1 October and the end of February, you are over school age from the winter leaving date (start of the Christmas holidays) in that school year. Between starting school and the relevant leaving date, you are “of school age”. Useful further information:

NOTE: This factsheet is intended as a guide to the law as at December 2017 and not as an authoritative statement and interpretation of the law.