Being excluded from school

Getting excluded, suspended or expelled from school can be scary. But whatever’s happened, we’re here to support you.

What's going to happen?

Being excluded is when you’re not allowed to go back into school.

You can’t attend lessons, go to school events or take part in school activities. You can be excluded or suspended for a short amount of time, but you can also be excluded permanently.

You should only be excluded if you’ve seriously broken the rules and you being at school might affect other pupils. And even if you are excluded, you should still get support.

When you’re excluded:

  • The school will phone your parents or carers and send them a letter to explain what’s happened
  • You and your parents or carers will be asked to come to a meeting to talk about what will happen next
  • If you’re not able to go back to school at all, your local council will support you to go to a new school

Being excluded might leave you feeling angry, upset, confused or embarrassed. No matter how you’re feeling, you can talk to Childline.

5 things to do if you’re in trouble at school

  • Be honest about what’s happened.
  • Apologise if you’ve done something wrong.
  • Talk about how things have affected you.
  • Let go of your guilt.
  • Ask about how the school could help you in the future.

Telling people

It can be natural to worry about how people will react if you’ve been excluded. But it can help to talk.

You might be worried about:

  • getting into trouble or your parents or carers shouting at you
  • people judging you or thinking that you’re a bad person
  • having to say what happened or not being believed.

It can help to remember that even if someone reacts badly at first, things can change when they calm down.

Talking face to face can be difficult sometimes, but it can help to start the conversation with a letter explaining what’s happened or a short message saying that you want to talk.

Remember that if you can’t talk or things go wrong, you can always speak to Childline.

when you go back

Going back to school after being excluded can be tough. You might be worried about how teachers will see you or whether you’ll be excluded again.

You might also see things on social media about you, or be worried about what other people will think.

Your school might ask you to come back part-time, or to agree to follow rules about your behaviour. They can also support you to make things easier.

When you go back to school it can help to:

• Talk to a teacher you trust Talking can help you to get support before things escalate again, and your teachers should all be there to support you. They can help as well if you’re struggling to catch up with school work.

Find new ways to control your anger Learning to walk away or express your anger can help to stop you getting into trouble, read our advice on coping with anger.

Avoid people who will get you into trouble It can be difficult avoiding people in school, especially if they’re your friends. Think about new activities or sports you could join that might help.

Don’t focus on what happened It’s easy to hold a grudge when what happened seems unfair, but it’s important to decide whether getting angry will change things or make them worse.

Say sorry If your school thinks that it’s okay to, saying sorry to anyone you’ve hurt can help you to move on and feel better. Remember that you can’t control their reaction, but you can get support if it’s difficult.

Give yourself time Changing things at school isn’t easy, ask for help if things get tough or speak to a Childline counsellor.

Starting at a new school

Even when you’re permanently excluded you should still be able to get an education. You might be offered a place in a new school or be referred to a pupil referral unit.

Pupil referral units are a type of school that has extra support for anyone attending. And sometimes they can help to support you more than your school can.

You might be worried about going to a new school or pupil referral unit.

Before you start, it can help to make a list of questions you might have about your new school to share with a teacher or adult you trust.

Find out more about starting a new school.

Your rights

Even when you’re excluded you’ve got the right to:

  • ask to see any evidence about why you were excluded
  • appeal the school’s decision with your parents or carers
  • get an education at another school
  • be given work to do while you’re off.