Looked after children and children in care

6. Exclusions from school

The exclusion of looked after children should be an absolute last resort. The Department for Education recognises that education is an important protective factor for such children. It provides a safe space for children to access support, be visible to professionals and realise their potential. When children are not in school, they miss the protection and opportunities it can provide, and become more vulnerable to harm. Exclusion can also place a great strain on care placements which can lead to the child losing their home. It is vital to try all practicable means to keep looked after children in school, and to exclude them only in the most exceptional circumstances.
Before excluding a looked after child, the Designated Teacher (DT) should contact the Virtual School Head (VSH). They can then work together to consider what extra support to put in place to help the school address the factors affecting the child’s behaviour. The aim of this is to reduce the need for suspension or permanent exclusion and improve the life chances of some of the most vulnerable children.

Protocol for excluding looked after children


Following an exclusion of a looked after child

Notify the Virtual School by sending an email with the following items attached:
  • The exclusion letter sent to the child's parents/carers
  • A completed Exclusion Notification form (EXNO1, available here)

Repeated exclusions

Repeated exclusions are a sign that a child is at risk of permanent exclusion. In this case, an emergency review of the child's Personal Education Plan (PEP) should be set up. If the child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), this should also be reviewed.

Permanent exclusion

Before issuing the exclusion:
Contact the VSH to discuss alternatives and extra support.
On issuing the exclusion:
You must invite the VSH to the governors’ hearing. The VSH will attend as a corporate parent rather than as a representative of the local authority. 

Internal exclusion

Ensure that the child is able to engage with other people, particularly those with whom they have an attachment. Provide the child with meaningful and positive learning experiences as part of the exclusion.

Children looked after by other local authorities

  • Follow East Sussex guidance
  • Contact the child’s own Virtual School (East Sussex Virtual School may be able to assist you with this)

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