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Exclusions know your rights

Exclusions - know your rights

Every child has a right to a full education and schools should only use exclusion as an absolute last resort. Yet sadly, Ambitious about Autism's research has found that exclusions of autistic pupils have increased significantly in the past few years.

Our research also reveals that 56% of autistic children have been sent home from school via unlawful exclusions. 


Types of school exclusion

Only a headteacher has the authority to exclude a pupil and this must be on disciplinary grounds.

There are two types of exclusions they can authorise: 

  • Fixed term exclusion - a pupil may be excluded for one or more fixed periods up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year. 
  • Permanent exclusion - the pupil is permanently excluded and will have to be educated elsewhere.


For an exclusion to be legal, the parents of the child must be notified in writing and the exclusion must be formally recorded. A school cannot send a child home to 'cool off' or ask a parent to collect a child from school before the normal end of the school day or bring them in late without formally recording this as an exclusion. 

If this does not happen, or a child is excluded because of their autism or behaviour linked to it, then it may be unlawful.  


Further support on exclusions

If your child has received a formal recorded exclusion we recommend contacting the Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) who have some great support sheets covering exclusions. 

Or contact the National Autistic Society's School Exclusion Helpline on 080 8800 4002. 

We have created an exclusions guidance and a resource pack to support families of excluded children to secure fair and legal treatment of their children. 

Read more about Ambitious about Autism's research and position on school exclusions.