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Exclusions and autism - leaving school early

Hi I am in year 11 and being excluded all the time. I'm autistic. can I leave school before doing gcse's and start an apprenticeship?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Being excluded from school can be upsetting or confusing, especially if it’s happening often. Each time you’re excluded you should be offered support and given work to do while you’re not allowed to attend school.

When your school decide to exclude you they need to tell you their decision as soon as possible, how long it will be for and whether any other services will be involved. Your parents or carers will be contacted and the details of the exclusion will be put in a letter for you to keep.

The exclusion might be for a fixed length of time which means you’ll be able to go back when the time has ended or it could be a permanent exclusion where you won’t be able to go to the same school again and the local council will need to support you to try to find another school.

You’ll also be told about any agreements for going back to school, like starting back part time, attending anger management or seeing a counsellor. Tell your school about anything you’ve been struggling with so they know how best to help you when you go back. Some autistic people need more support than others and whatever your needs are you should be offered extra support in school if you need it.

The age you can leave school depends on where in the UK you live but it’s always in the year of your 16th birthday. Once you’re 16, and until you’re 18, you can either stay in full or part time education, start an apprenticeship or spend at least 20 hours volunteering whilst you train. If you’re not sure about your next steps you can get free advice from the National Careers Service.

Thank you for your letter. And remember, our counsellors are always here for you if you need someone to talk to.

Take care,


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