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To Sam

Being excluded from school

Dear Sam, I am writing to ask for some advice on what to do if i have been permanently excluded from school for showing a teacher my phone because he asked to see. The other teachers don't believe me when i say he told me to show him when even other children in my class have agreed that it what actually happened. I'm always in trouble and i feel like the teachers pick on me but when i tell someone they just think i'm using that as an excuse. I've been off for a month now and I really want to go back to school. What can I do?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When your school excludes you they have to follow a set of rules and guidelines. These rules outline the reasons you can be excluded and the steps they must take. If your school or local authority hasn't followed these rules then you or your parents/carers can make a complaint. You shouldn't be left without education for more than a week in most cases.

I'm not a legal expert so it's important for you talk to someone who is. There are free services you can use, like the Children's Legal Centre who are a charity that provide legal advice on issues that affect young people. They have a page about being excluded from school which you might find helpful to read. The advice they give is that your local authority is responsible for providing full time education after the first week of being excluded. If this hasn't happened then they advise you make a complaint.

Your school has to have a good reason for excluding you, especially if it's permanently. They should only exclude you if you have done one very serious thing or if you have broken the rules lots of times. They also have to show that by not excluding you, you would impact the education of others around you or your own education. This should have been explained to you and your parents/carers both in person/over the phone and in writing by letter or email.

No matter what, you are entitled to an education. The law says that you must be in full time education and it isn't your responsibility to make sure it happens. Your school, the local authority and your parents/carers all need to make sure this happens. If it's not, then it's important to get specialist advice from somewhere like Child Law Advice so you can make sure your rights are being respected.

I hope this has helped - if you need to talk about how you feel whilst excluded from school then you can speak to Childline counsellors who are here to support you. You can also talk to other young people on the Childline message boards.

Thanks for writing to me, take care.


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