Legislation in the 1996 & 1998 Education Acts lays down the requirements which every school in Northern Ireland must follow. In addition to including the legal requirements, each Education and Library Board and the CCMS has produced their own policy on suspension and expulsion.
A pupil can be suspended for a maximum of 5 days initially and then for extended periods of 5 days at a time.
He or she can be suspended for a maximum of 45 days in any school year.
The suspension can only be carried out by the principal.
Parents must be informed in writing and should be invited to a meeting to discuss the suspension.
While a pupil is suspended, he or she is still a registered pupil at the school and the National Curriculum must be made available; i.e. work should be provided by the teachers but it is the responsibility of the parent to avail of it.
A pupil can only be expelled after he or she has undergone a suspension period.
He or she can only be expelled in a controlled school, by the ELB. In an independent or maintained school expulsion will take place according to the school policy.
Expulsion can only take place after consultation with parents, the Chairman of the Board of Governors, a representative of the ELB and in maintained schools by a member of CCMS. This meeting should be an opportunity to discuss the future needs of the pupils and should not be assumed to be a meeting planned to automatically expel the pupil.
If a child is expelled, parents have the right to appeal. If the appeal fails, then it is the parents’ responsibility to find another school for the pupil. In cases where this is not possible, then the ELBs have a duty to provide suitable education. (EOTAS)