Exclusion and suspensions: Advice for School Governors

Exclusion and suspensions: Advice for School Governors

For the full Guidance please refer to: Suspension and Permanent Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England, including pupil movement Guidance for maintained schools, academies, and pupil referral units in England, Sept 2023 

This guidance has been updated to be a companion piece to the Behaviour in Schools guidance, which provides advice to headteachers, trust leaders and school staff on implementing a behaviour policy which creates a school culture with high expectations of behaviour. Therefore, this guidance should only be necessary when strategies, practices and interventions set out within the Behaviour in Schools guidance have not been successful in improving a pupil’s behaviour or the use of more significant interventions or sanctions are required

Chair of Governing Boards dealing with Pupil Exclusions or Suspensions

Has your Head teacher asked you about the following to ensure there are clear processes in place for considering suspensions and permanent exclusions, such as:

• Ensuring parents and pupils are aware of their right to consideration by the governing board

• Asking whether the governing board have taken steps to find a convenient date that the parent, other relevant parties, the local authority representative (if relevant) and the headteacher can attend, within the legal time limits

• Asking the governing board whether they have considered how to involve the pupil in the consideration process

• Collecting all relevant documents, anonymising them, if required, and providing them to all parties

The headteacher should ensure that they have informed the governing board about reinstatement and specify the correct timescale. They should also make clear to the governing board whether the need to consider reinstatement is dependent on receiving parental representations.

A headteacher should ensure a process is in place for a governing board when considering reinstatement following a permanent exclusion:

• Do governors understand the suspension and permanent exclusion process to enable a review within deadlines?

• Would governors benefit from additional training, including on behaviour management, routines, norms and consequences, disability awareness, the Equality Act 2010, the Children and Families Act 2014 and SEN provision?

• Is there a clear and timely system in place to enable parents to make representations?

• Are there up-to-date templates for notifying parents of the decision and explaining the next steps?

The governing board and local authority’s duties to arrange education for pupils suspended from school

For a suspension of more than five school days, the governing board (or local authority about a pupil suspended from a PRU) must arrange suitable full-time education for any pupil of compulsory school age. This provision is commonly called alternative provision and must begin no later than the sixth school day of the suspension. Where a child receives consecutive suspensions, these are regarded as a cumulative period of suspension for the purposes of this duty. This means that if a child has more than five consecutive school days of suspension, then education must be arranged for the sixth school day of suspension, regardless of whether this is because of one decision to suspend the pupil for the full period or multiple decisions to suspend the pupil for several periods in a row.

Considering reinstatement of suspended or excluded pupils

Governing boards have a key responsibility in considering whether excluded pupils should be reinstated. This forms part of their wider role to hold executive leaders to account for the lawful use of exclusion, in line with the duties set out in law, including equalities duties.

The governing board has a duty to consider parents’ representations about a suspension or permanent exclusion. The requirements on a governing board to consider the reinstatement of a suspended or permanently excluded pupil depend upon a number of factors (these requirements are illustrated by the diagram on page 38, A summary of the governing board’s duties to review the headteacher’s exclusion decision).

The governing board must consider and decide on the reinstatement of a suspended or permanently excluded pupil within 15 school days of receiving notice of a suspension or permanent exclusion from the headteacher if:

• it is a permanent exclusion;

• it is a suspension which would bring the pupil's total number of school days out of school to more than 15 in a term; or

• it would result in the pupil missing a public examination or national curriculum test.

The requirements are different for suspensions where a pupil would be suspended for more than five but less than 16 school days in a term. In this case, if the parents make representations, the governing board must consider and decide within 50 school days of receiving the notice of suspension whether the suspended pupil should be reinstated. In the absence of any representations from the parents, the governing board is not required to meet and cannot direct the reinstatement of the pupil.


For further information on duties to review please see part seven of the Guidance

Support for Governing Boards

The National Governance Association - Exclusions: A guide for governing boards can be accessed at: https://www.nga.org.uk/getmedia/7363021a-a7ad-488d-bc31-ff5aab54ba3c/Exclusions-guidance-final-2019.pdf

Statutory Guidance Behaviour and discipline in schools: guide for governing bodies from the DfE can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools-guidance-for-governing-bodies

Governing boards should already be challenging and evaluating what their school’s data is telling them about their school or academy trust. Boards should carefully consider the level of pupil moves and the characteristics of pupils moving on any permanent exclusions to ensure the sanction is only used when necessary as a last resort. Governing boards should review suspensions and permanent exclusions, those taken off roll and those on roll but attending education off-site. It is important to consider both the cost implications of directing children to be educated off-site in AP and whether there are any patterns to the reasons or timing of moves. For example, if high numbers of children with SEND are moving, the school, academy or trust may wish to consider reviewing its SEN supportFurther information can be found at: Understanding your data: a guide for school governors and academy trustees - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Governors can also seek advice from The School Governor Service – school.governor@bradford.gov.uk or call Julie Ioanna on 07582 109275

Behaviour and discipline in schools: a guide for governing bodies. 

This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education. Under Section 88(1) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (EIA), governing bodies must ensure that policies designed to promote good behaviour and discipline on the part of its pupils are pursued at the school. This guidance explains why maintained schools must have a behaviour policy, what it must cover and the role of the governing body and head teachers in shaping their school’s behaviour policy. You can access the guidace here.

Guidance on providing exclusion data

As well as reporting on day one of a permanent exclusion to the Exclusion Team, schools are required to update their Information Management system without delay with any exclusions and suspensions made. Schools should also report to the governing board once per term on the number of exclusions which have been cancelled.

Training for Governors:


Suspensions and Exclusions - The Governor Role 

Description of training

The role of Governors in overseeing suspension and exclusions from school is not one many governors have experience of when they offer their support to school as a Governor. This training will look at  suspension and permanent legislation and guidance around this, connected to schools’ policies and the impact on students, families and schools. There will be a particular emphasis on the duties of the Governors, with training expanding on the  governor role at pupil disciplinary committee (PDC) meetings, where governors have a duty to consider the reinstatement of a pupil suspended or permanently excluded. The training supports governors to ensure this difficult process is undertaken as per their duties and in supporting Governors to make decisions that are lawful, reasonable, fair and proportionate at the PDC with increased confidence.

Suitable for

School Governing bodies and trust boards. It may also be suitable for senior leaders in school. 


60 minutes either face to face or on Teams. 


£150 for up to 20 participants   

Please contact the exclusionsteam@bradford.gov.uk for details and to book

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