DfE consultation on Exclusions guidance for September 2017

Monday 27th March 2017

The DfE is consulting on new exclusion guidance for September 2017 – the consultation can be found at


This consultation document seeks feedback on whether the clarifications proposed for the exclusion guidance 2017 are sufficient and clear to understand. The DfE is suggesting revisions to the exclusion guidance to correct factual inaccuracies and to clarify areas that it is aware, through correspondence or practitioner feedback, are causing confusion in the system.

Provided for consideration alongside this document is the statutory exclusion guidance 2017 including the new annexes:

•The new non-statutory Annex B of the guidance: exclusion guide for head teachers.

•The new non-statutory Annex C of the guidance: information on exclusion for parents.

The DfE wants to hear your views on how helpful the clarifications to the statutory guidance are and how useful the new statutory annexes will be.

The consultation closes on 25 April 2017.


In 2012 a revised exclusion system came into effect to give head teachers confidence to exclude pupils where this was appropriate and for governing bodies to decide whether or not to reinstate the pupil. If a parent is unhappy with the decision taken by the governing body, they are able to ask for an Independent Review Panel to consider this decision. A panel may decide to uphold the governing body’s decision, recommend that the governing body reconsider its decision or direct that it do so.

Where the governing body is recommended or directed to reconsider its decision, it takes a new decision on its merits and may decide to uphold its previous decision not to reinstate the pupil. The 2012 exclusions guidance was issued to reflect the changes to the exclusion legislation.

In December 2014 the Department published a revised version which was subsequently withdrawn, so the 2012 guidance has been in force for some time.

The DfE has made a small number of changes to the current (2012) guidance to make factual changes and to clarify areas that have caused confusion. They have made changes to clarify:

•that exclusions cannot be extended or converted;

•that consecutive fixed period exclusions are regarded as a cumulative period;

•what is meant by the term ‘civil standard of proof’;

•the head teacher’s duties regarding notifying the parents of an excluded pupil about an exclusion;

•the governing body’s responsibilities for an excluded pupil;

•the local authority’s responsibilities when exclusions take place;

•the governing body’s responsibilities when reviewing decisions;

•the local authority’s or academy trust’s responsibilities when setting up an independent review panel (IRP);

•the role of the Special Educational Needs (SEN)expert to the IRP;

•the IRP decision-making process;

•the notifications an IRP must make following its decision;

•the governing body’s duty to reconsider reinstating a pupil after a review; and

•some legal requirements which in the current guidance are not accurate reflections of the legislation.

The revised guidance will come into effect on 1 September 2017 and will be published in summer 2017 to give time to those involved in the exclusion process to familiarise themselves with the clarifications.

Pam Langmead