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 4 April 2023
See updates
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 3467
  1. Suspensions and permanent exclusions 
  2. Reasons a suspension or exclusion may be unlawful
  3. Exclusions which require special consideration
  4. Governors' responsibilities

New statutory guidance came into force on 1st September 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 fixed periods, up to a maximum of 45 days in total per school year. 

Suspensions can also just be for a part of the school day, such as a lunchtime suspension. Each lunchtime suspension counts as half a day when determining the total number of days suspended per term and/or school year.

At a governance level, this