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Education Access Team Suffolk County Council

What we do

The Education Access Team is part of the Specialist Education Service.

The team is a school facing service that supports Children and Young People (CYP) who are unable to access full time education due to being permanently excluded or are at risk of permanent exclusion.

The Education Access Team supports schools and academies to collaboratively focus on the needs of the CYP to ensure the right support is in place.

The Education Access Team provides direct support and guidance where required for:

  • ​Children and their families who have been permanently excluded from school
  • hearings and Independent Review Panels
  • pupils who are at risk of permanent exclusion from their school through
    • discussion with schools regarding alternatives to PEX, including use of the Local Offer, alternative provision, or outreach
    • signposting to appropriate services
  • other professionals on the exclusion process including discussions with partner services within Whole School Inclusion Teams to explore approaches to behaviour and policies
  • professionals and schools where pupils on a school roll are not receiving appropriate education due to medical or other needs. 
  • reintegration meetings after a new school have been identified through the In Year Fair Access Protocol (IYFAP)
  • supporting families with pathways to new placements

The wider role of the Education Access Team include:

  • Monitoring of Part-time Timetables
  • Commissioning bespoke packages of support where appropriate to secure current provision
Permanent Exclusion

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​​The decision to permanently exclude a child from school should only be taken in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school's behaviour policy; and where allowing the child to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school. The decision to exclude 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. ​

It is important that pupils continue to have access to learning during their exclusion so that they continue to make progress and achieve.  Schools should provide work for the first 5 school days of any exclusion. Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring that their children are supervised during school hours on these days and complete the work which has been set. This will ensure that they will have the best chance to keep up with their learning and be less at risk of becoming involved in anti-social activities. The Education Access Team will refer to the Alternative Tuition Service within Suffolk County Council who are responsible for providing sixth day provision for Permanently Excluded pupils.  

All permanent exclusions must be considered by the Governing Board and parents have the right to make representations at this meeting with support from the Education Access Team. If the Governing Board upholds the Headteachers decision to permanently exclude, parents can request for this decision to be reviewed by an Independent Review Panel.  

From September 2022 when Headteachers suspend or permanently exclude a pupil they must, without delay, notify parents. Legislative changes mean that if a pupil has a social worker, or if a pupil is looked-after, the Headteacher must now, also without delay after their decision, notify the social worker and/or Virtual School Head (VSH), as applicable  

All Permanent Exclusion Notifications will need to be completed using the Inclusion Referral Form and Risk Assessment form.

Notifications should be sent to:

Education Access Team – EducationAccess@suffolk.gov.uk

Suspensions, previously Fixed Term Exclusions

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The government recognises that school suspensions, along with managed moves and temporary off-site directions can be effective methods for headteachers and used to establish both high standards of behaviour in schools and maintain the safety of school communities.

For the vast majority of pupils, suspensions and permanent exclusions may not be necessary, as other strategies can manage behaviour. However, suspensions and permanent exclusions should always be used as a last resort.

A suspension is where a pupil is temporarily removed from the school and details of when this sanction will be considered should be set out within the school's behaviour policy.

A pupil may be suspended for one or more fixed periods (up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year). Any suspension or exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods, such as a half day, must be formally recorded. An informal or unofficial exclusion, such as sending a pupil home 'to cool off', is unlawful when it does not follow the formal school exclusion process and regardless of whether it occurs with the agreement of parents.

It is important that during a suspension, pupils still receive their education. Headteachers should take steps to ensure that work is set and marked for pupils during the suspension. This can include utilising any online pathways such as Google Classroom or other effective package developed by the school. Any time a pupil is sent home due to disciplinary reasons and asked to log on or utilise online pathways should always be recorded as a suspension.

The school's legal duties to pupils with disabilities or special educational needs remain in force, for example, to make reasonable adjustments in how they support disabled pupils during this period.

Whenever a headteacher suspends or permanently excludes a pupil they must, without delay, notify parents of the period of the suspension or permanent exclusion and the reason(s) for it.

Updated legislation and guidance now states the local authority must be informed without delay of all school exclusions regardless of the length.

In addition, when the headteacher suspends or permanently excludes a pupil they must, without delay, after their decision, also notify the pupil's social worker, if they have one, and the Virtual School head if the pupil is a child in care.

Reduced Timetables

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Provision – Part-time Timetable (PTTT)

All children of school age, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to a full-time education which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude, and any special educational needs they may have.

The Education Access Team is committed to working in partnership with schools and other providers to ensure that all children have a full offer of education and attend.  When schools are considering placing a child or young person on a reduced timetable, they should follow the Part Time Timetable Protocol.

To notify Suffolk County Council of a child/pupil starting a PTTT the school should use the link and form provided in the document above.

Inclusion Support Meetings (ISM)

Schools can book a free 20-minute online Inclusion Support Meeting to access advice and guidance from an Education Access Officer to support early intervention around a pupil who may be experiencing numerous Suspensions or be at risk of a Permanent Exclusion (PEx). To book an ISM click here.


The Education Access Teams can be contacted by emailing EducationAccess@suffolk.gov.uk 

Team Contact: 01473 265561

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