Get advice and support on exclusions, AET Resources and the NAS Exclusion Service helpline.

Empty classroom in school photo

Autistic Children are particularly vulnerable to being excluded from school. Sometimes behaviour associated with their autism can be confused with disobedience because of a lack of awareness by both pupils and school staff. Autistic pupils trying to cope with the unstructured social aspects of school life can feel overwhelmed and become anxious and display distressed behaviours. Head teachers may feel that exclusion is the only solution in order to maintain the safety and well-being of other pupils. Indeed, it may be the case that a mainstream school is not the best setting for a child. However, distressed behaviour can be an indication of unmet needs and schools have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to policies and practices to ensure that autistic pupils also feel safe, confident and able to experience success.

The Department for Education is funding the School Exclusions service through the AET, to provide information and advice to parents, when an autistic child or young person is excluded from school, or is at risk of exclusion; and to support professionals in early intervention strategies and good practice to avoid the need for exclusions.

Steps to Avoid Exclusion of Autistic Pupils

Autistic children and young people can find school challenging and each individual has different needs and abilities. This resource considers the challenges autistic pupils face at school, and offers suggestions for ways in which they can be supported to avoid exclusion.

School Stress and Anxiety – school refusal and impact on family life

Autistic pupils can find navigating the social world of school confusing and difficult. Although they may appear to be coping at school, autistic pupils can experience high levels of stress and anxiety. This resource considers some common reasons for increased stress and anxiety together with strategies to overcome barriers to inclusion.

Successful Reintegration of Autistic Pupils Following School Exclusion

In this resource we talk about understanding the impact of exclusion and exploring reintegration preparation and strategies that schools can use following an autistic child or young person’s exclusion from school. Families may also be interested in this information to reassure themselves that their child is fully supported following an exclusion.

School Exclusions: A Guide for Parents

A guide to help parents navigate equality law, rights and entitlements when their autistic child is excluded or at risk of exclusion from school

This resource outlines the legal duties the Equality Act 2010 places on your child’s school in relation to the exclusion of disabled pupils. The examples given relate specifically to autistic pupils and are intended to help you and your child’s school avoid disability discrimination claims, where possible. Disruptive behaviour can be a manifestation of a pupil’s autism and excluding your child for exhibiting disability related behaviour can, in some cases, amount to disability discrimination.

Exclusion: A Guide to Help Governing Boards

A guide to help governing boards comply with equality law when considering a headteacher’s decision to exclude an autistic pupil

This resource outlines the legal requirements of the Equality Act 2010 for schools in relation to the exclusion of disabled pupils. The examples given relate specifically to autistic pupils and are intended to help schools avoid disability discrimination claims. Disruptive behaviour can be a manifestation of a pupil’s autism and excluding a pupil for exhibiting disability related behaviour can amount to discrimination arising from disability, unless it can be justified.

How to use our Schools Exclusions Service

Make an enquiry or request an appointment by emailing schoolexclusions@nas.org.uk It would be helpful if you could provide as much detail as possible regarding your enquiry.

Call 0808 800 4002. Leave a message on our answering service (free from landlines and most mobiles). It would be helpful if you could leave a brief summary of your enquiry, together with your phone number and email address, so that an Exclusions Adviser can arrange to call you back to discuss your query in detail.

Clicking 'advice' application on smart phone

We aim to reply within five working days. Please note that it may take us longer than this if our Exclusions Adviser is away.

You can find more information on exclusions below:

Our partner, the National Autistic Society, offers up-to-date advice on exclusions from school, college and university in: