Advice for the School Year: What You Can do if Your Child Gets Sent Home for Not Following the School’s Policies?

Often parents ask themselves what they can do if their children get sent home for not following the school’s policies. Here’s a simple Q&A for the frequently asked questions. 

What should I do if I don’t like my child’s school’s curriculum?

Most schools will follow the National Curriculum and they are required by law to do that unless there is a good reason not to. If there is an element of what they are teaching that you are not happy with, the first step would be to raise it with the school. It may be that there are elements of the curriculum which the school will permit a child to be excluded from.

Ultimately, if you are not happy with the curriculum that is being followed, parents can make the decision to ‘home school’ their children. If you decide to home school, then there is no requirement for you to follow the National Curriculum in teaching your child, other than if you wished to enter them into national exams such as GCSEs or A Levels.

 

I believe my child’s school uniform policy is too strict, how can I get this changed?

Whether a school has a uniform policy is a decision made by the governing body of the school, although the Department for Education “…strongly encourages schools to have a uniform as it can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.”

The first step in challenging the policy would be to speak to the school to discuss your concerns about the strictness of the policy and see whether a resolution can be reached. If this is unsuccessful, all governing bodies should have a formal complaints procedure, so you should raise your concerns through this formal route. Governors should be willing to consider reasonable requests for flexibility in the uniform policy for an individual pupil to accommodate particular social and cultural circumstances.

 

My child has dyed their hair an ‘unnatural colour’ and the school has sent them home, how can I challenge this?

A head teacher, or a person authorised by the head teacher, may ask a pupil to go home briefly to remedy a breach of the school’s rules on appearance or uniform. When making this decision schools need to consider the child’s age and vulnerability, the ease and time it will take, and the availability of the child’s parents. The parents should also be notified.

The school policy on appearance should have been communicated to the parents and pupils and if you feel that your child’s new hair colour does not breach that, then the first step would be to raise your concern with the school and challenge the stance they have taken.

 

My child was put in isolation for refusing to adhere to uniform guidelines, and the school won’t let them return to lessons. What legal action can I take against the school?

If your child has been excluded from lessons, the school should be following statutory guidelines when making that decision. The decision to exclude a pupil must be lawful, reasonable and fair. Schools have a statutory duty not to discriminate against pupils on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability or race.

You should firstly challenge the exclusion with the governing body, which has a duty to consider parents’ representations about an exclusion. Where a pupil would be excluded for more than five – but less than 15 – school days in the term,  if the parents make representations, the governing board must consider within 50 school days of receiving the notice of exclusion whether the excluded pupil should be reinstated.

 

Disclaimer: This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created.

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