Stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions guidelines – Part 2

About the guidelines

These guidelines:

  • are designed to assist school boards, principals, and teachers with their legal options and duties and meet their obligations under relevant statutory requirements, and
  • are for use in all state and state-integrated schools.

Independent schools may also wish to adopt this guide.

Please note:  The Education and Training Act 2020 has replaced the Education Act 1989.  Any references to the Education Act 1989 in the SSEE Guidelines  below should be replaced with the relevant sections in the new Education and Training Act 2020. This includes replacing the sections of the Act in the letters in the Good Practice Guidelines Part 2 (refer Appendix).

The guidelines comprise:

Part 1: Legal options and duties [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Part 2: Good practice [PDF, 2.4 MB]

These guidelines replace those published by the Ministry of Education in June 2004 and the 2007 Supplement. The paragraphs have been numbered for ease of use and reference. Cross-references to Part 1 – Legal options and duties are given where relevant.

13. Placing excluded students

When students are excluded, principals should arrange for them to attend another school as soon as possible (Section 81(7) of the Education and Training Act 2020). When finding another school for excluded students, the following information may be helpful:

  • Excluded students - the school's role
    • Some students may be excluded from your school as a result of their behaviour. It is important to remember all students have a right to education.

      All excluded students should remain on your school roll until a new school has been found and the new school requests that the student be withdrawn from your roll. This is covered in Section 86 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link).

      Schools are required to find a new school for excluded students as soon as possible (within 10 school days, as per Section 81(7) of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link)). The shorter the time that a student is out of school, the greater the likelihood of a smooth transition for the student and the new school.

      Ask these questions of your school

      Do we have a process for securing another school for an excluded student?

      Do we have a relationship with principals at neighbouring schools? What form of communication with neighbouring schools do we use? Does our principal telephone these principals personally?

      Some schools in clusters will accept excluded students from neighbouring schools in exchange for some of their excluded students.

      Do we have a cluster relationship with neighbouring schools and an arrangement about taking excluded students?

      The principal must inform the Ministry of Education if a student is not enrolled at another school after 10 school days. If the principal cannot arrange for a student to be enrolled at another school, the Ministry will help to find another school for the student to attend and, if necessary, direct a student to be enrolled in a school.

  • Excluded students - the Ministry of Education's role
    • The Ministry requests advice of an exclusion to be supplied immediately. This is so that the Ministry is in a position to gauge, and subsequently provide, the appropriate level of support for the best outcome for a given student.

      In situations where a school has not been able to secure a new school for an excluded student, the Ministry of Education may arrange for and direct the board of any state school to enrol the student at their school.

      A board must comply with a direction under Section 87(3) of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link). A direction overrides the provisions of any enrolment scheme the school may have in place.

  • Example of situation where a school has managed excluded students
    • Example 1

      A secondary school collaborative initiative was set up to support students within a community. The initiative included a large number of secondary schools, within the region, that work with a common vision of supporting students. This collaborative approach focused on improving student achievement and helping students stay engaged in appropriate learning.

      Early intervention strategies are applied when students begin to demonstrate behavioural problems. These strategies are aimed at keeping the student engaged in school and helping to prevent exclusion. In cases of exclusion, principals agree to take excluded students from other schools involved in the initiative. The principals play an integral part in the decision-making process for placing excluded students. The placement at the new school is facilitated immediately by the excluding school. The process is transparent and each school knows when it is their turn to take an excluded student.

      This collaborative initiative has had a positive impact upon the schools, students and community. The time out of school for students has been minimal. Most excluded students were back in school within 10 days. This supportive approach has also made it easier for excluded students to transition to new schools and stay engaged in ongoing learning.