Suspending or excluding a pupil

Understand the statutory framework surrounding exclusions and what you might be asked to do as part of the exclusions process. Download our suspensions and exclusions process flowchart to get up to speed quickly.

Last reviewed on 7 August 2023
See updates
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 3467
  1. Suspensions and permanent exclusions 
  2. Suspensions and exclusions process: flowchart
  3. Reasons a suspension or exclusion may be unlawful
  4. Exclusions which require special consideration
  5. Cancelling suspensions and exclusions
  6. Governors' responsibilities

New statutory guidance is in force from 1st September 2023.

Use the previous guidance for pupils suspended or excluded before 1 September 2023

The new guidance only applies to suspensions and exclusions which take place on or after 1 September 2023. If you have ongoing cases, make sure you follow the guidance that was in place when the suspension or exclusion process started.

However, your headteacher should inform parents/carers of their new right to request a remote panel hearing on 1 September, or as soon as possible afterwards (see paragraph 254 of the September 2023 guidance, which makes provision for ongoing cases to use remote panels).

Download the 2022 guidance here:

Suspensions and exclusions guidance 2022

Suspensions and permanent exclusions 

Only headteachers or acting headteachers can decide to suspend or exclude a pupil. In all cases, the decision must be lawful, rational, reasonable, fair and proportionate. 

Suspensions are temporary. A pupil can be suspended for 1 or more