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5.4.11. Concerns about Behaviour and School Exclusions


This chapter applies to all Looked After children. It should be read in conjunction with the government guidance documents and related chapters.

Note that different provisions apply to children who acquire Looked After status as a result of a remand to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. In relation to those children, please see Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure, Care Planning for Young People on Remand.


DfE, Promoting the Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

DfE, Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England – A guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion (2012)

Knowsley Virtual School for Children Looked After: School Attendance and Exclusions Strategy.


Virtual School Procedure


This chapter has been updated in July 2017 to add a link to Knowsley Virtual School for Children Looked After: School Attendance and Exclusions Strategy, (see Relevant Guidance above).


  1. Concerns about a Child’s behaviour
  2. Fixed Term Exclusions
  3. Permanent Exclusions

1. Concerns about a Child’s behaviour

Where a school has concerns about the behaviour of a Child Looked After, the Virtual School should be informed and, where necessary, involved at the earliest opportunity so that:

  • Consideration as to whether any additional assessment and support (such as additional help for the classroom teacher, one-to-one therapeutic work or a suitable alternative placement) needs to be put in place to address the causes of the child’s behaviour and prevent the need for exclusion;
  • Any additional arrangements can be put in place to support the child’s on-going education in the event of an exclusion.

Where necessary issues and concerns about behaviour will be escalated to the Headteacher of the Virtual School. Further information and guidance is available in Knowsley’s Attendance and Exclusions Strategy 2017. The Strategy details expectations for professionals in schools, social care and for carers / parents.

If behaviour becomes a serious concern, the social worker, the Virtual School and carer must be informed and a PEP review convened. It is vital, that there is a collegial approach to supporting the pupil and managing his/her behaviour. There is an expectation that social workers will work proactively with the Virtual School, carers and schools to do everything possible to avoid excluding a child who is looked after.

Only the Head Teacher has the authority to exclude a pupil and this must be on disciplinary grounds. A child/young person can receive one or more fixed term exclusions, up to a total of 45 days in any academic year. If the child/young person receives fixed term exclusions of more than 45 days they become permanently excluded.

The school should communicate the reasons for the exclusion to the carer and Virtual School. The social worker and carers should receive official notification in writing. A child/young person should not be sent home from school on disciplinary grounds without being formally excluded. Whoever is the most appropriate to do so should discuss this with the child/young person. The social worker should inform the parents if appropriate.

No Looked After child should be permanently excluded from a school/PRU without discussion with the local authority to ensure that there is suitable alternative provision elsewhere. (Para 78 Improving behaviour and attendance: guidance on exclusion from schools and PRU's).

Where a Looked After child is excluded from school, the child's social worker must inform the child's Independent Reviewing Officer.

2. Fixed Term Exclusions

Headteachers should, as far as possible, avoid excluding any Child Looked After. Exclusion from school should be a last resort for children who are looked after, therefore it is important to work with the school, the Virtual School and carers to intervene as soon as a child's behaviour becomes a cause for concern.

Where a child is excluded from school for a fixed period, the school will provide work for the child for the first five days of the exclusion. The social worker must liaise with the carers about suitable arrangements for supervising the child doing the schoolwork during the day and ensuring the child does not go out during school hours. With effect from the sixth day the school should provide a place for the child to be educated.

The school will communicate the reasons for the exclusion to the residential staff/carer and the social worker. Whoever is the most appropriate one to do so will discuss this with the child. The social worker should inform the parents, if appropriate.

The social worker, in consultation with the child and parents, must seek advice as to whether to appeal against the decision to exclude the child.

The social worker should ensure a reintegration meeting is arranged for the first day that the child / young person returns to school following any exclusion, so that the return to education can be fully supported by all those involved and any issues of concern addressed.

The reintegration meeting should be co-ordinated by the designated teacher, with the residential provider/carer, social worker and a representative from the Virtual School present. The meeting should focus on all parties working together to identify what needs to be put in place in school for a successful return. If the outcome of the meeting highlights that there are no other in-school provisions which can be utilised to support the school placement then the child’s social worker or designated teacher should contact the Virtual School Head who will then ascertain if there is any enhanced SEN provision which may be available to prevent further deteriorations and exclusions.

3. Permanent Exclusions

Staff in education settings should understand that permanent exclusion is a last resort. If a child in care is at risk of permanent exclusion, there is an expectation (as detailed in government guidance on pupils who are excluded from schools and the authority’s protocol), that schools will work closely with the Local Authority to address the issues and prevent the exclusion occurring.

When a child is permanently excluded but is remaining in the same foster or residential placement, the social worker and the Virtual School will liaise urgently with the local education service in which the child is living to find an alternative school placement. Again, for the first five days of the exclusion the school will provide work and the child should not be out unaccompanied in public during school hours. From the sixth day the local authority will arrange for a place for the child to be educated.

In view of the impact which school exclusions can have on the child’s care placement it is essential that alternative education provision be made available from the sixth day at the latest, and wherever possible, discussions held to review the possibility of provision being made available from the first day of the exclusion.

In the case of permanent exclusion a meeting of a committee of governors will be held within fifteen days to review the decision. If the committee decides to uphold the decision to permanently exclude, an appeal can be made within fifteen school days. The appeals form can be completed by a foster carer or anyone who has Parental Responsibility for the child.