How To Deal With Unfair School Exclusions

Striving to be the best and pressure to maintain standards has led to some schools taking drastic, and even unlawful, measures to stay in the top league tables.

In 2017, Simpson Millar's Education solicitors acted in a ground-breaking case where students at a secondary school were being unlawfully excluded because of their academic performance.

As specialists in handling these types of cases, our Education Law solicitors explain how we can help you take action if your child's education, or your future, has been put at risk either now or in the past.  

Unfair School Exclusions

School Exclusions – The Process

In schools funded by the state, students can only be excluded from school on the grounds of behavioural issues; it is unlawful for a student to be excluded on the grounds of their academic performance.

The headteacher is responsible for deciding whether or not to exclude a student, and they should always consider exclusion as the last resort.

There are two types of school exclusions:

  • Fixed period exclusions: this involves your child being excluded from school on a temporary basis for up to 45 days in one school year
  • Permanent exclusions: this means that your child is expelled from the school and cannot return

When a young person has been excluded from school, their family – or the young person – has the right to challenge the school's decision.

With permanent exclusions, often the key to a successful outcome is acting very quickly, as it is possible for headteachers to withdraw exclusions before they have been confirmed by the governing body. Representation is allowed at governing body exclusion meetings, and also in requests for reviews of those decisions to the Independent Review Panel.

Any exclusions that are 'informal' and do not allow the possibility of going to the governing body and Independent Review Panel are unlawful and may be challengeable by way of Judicial Review.

What Can You Do If You, Or Your Child, Have Been Excluded From School Because Of Your Grades?

Excluding a student because of their academic performance is unlawful, and if your child's education or your own education suffered at one of the most important times of life you are entitled to take action. If this has happened very recently, it may be possible to take immediate action by way of Judicial Review, but it is important to act quickly.

If it happened some time ago, and you had no other option but to find another school or fund the costs of private education – such as A level crammer colleges – at the last minute, our Education Law solicitors could help you make a claim for compensation.

This could include recovering the costs of private school, exam fees and even the additional cost of travel compared to your child's first school. Speak to one of our experts on 0808 129 3320 to find out how we can help you.

What Happens When A Student With Special Educational Needs And/Or A Disability Has Been Excluded From School?

Schools have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities.

If your child has special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their school failed to support their needs, our Education Law team can identify whether there are grounds on which you can challenge the exclusion. Children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in particular should not be excluded from school.

Are There Time Limits For Making A Claim For Compensation?

In cases where a child was excluded because of their grades, parents and carers have 6 years from the date on which their child was excluded to make a claim. But, in some circumstances if the student was under 18 at the time they may still be able to claim for some losses until their 24th birthday.

How Can Simpson Millar's Education Law Team Help Me?

Highly recommended by the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, our Education solicitors help families get successful outcomes in some of the most niche areas of the law, including school exclusions.

Losing a place at school is traumatising for students, and their future should not be damaged because of the wrongful actions of their school.

If you lost out financially because of the school's decision, our Education lawyers might be able to help you reclaim what you have lost through a claim for compensation. We can take on your case through a conditional fee agreement (also known as 'no win, no fee'), and will negotiate the best outcome for you.

We can help you no matter where you are in the UK, and have offices in:

To find out how we can help you take action, contact Bryan Nott – Director of Personal Legal Services – on 0345 357 9750.

Alternatively, speak to our Education Law team on 0808 129 3320 or fill out an enquiry form and we'll get in touch with you. 

We're here to offer clear and practical advice, ultimately helping to ensure your child receives the best education and the best start in life. Contact us today on 0808 129 3320 or fill out our online enquiry form to find out how we can help you.


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Bryan Nott - Director of Personal Legal Services - Birmingham

Bryan Nott
Director of Personal Legal Services

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