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The rules on suspensions and expulsions are different depending on whether you go to a public government school or a private school.  This page only applies if you go to a public school in New South Wales. If you attend a private, independent or Catholic school please contact us here with your question.  

Every Australian child has a right to education. This means your school cannot suspend or expel you without very good reasons and a clear process.  It also means your school must act fairly if they are planning on suspending or expelling you from school.  If you think you are being unfairly punished, you may be able to appeal the decision.

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What is expulsion?

Expulsion is when you are asked to leave school permanently.   Expulsion is normally given to you as a last resort, for example after you have already been given warnings and suspensions.  

What can you be expelled for?

You can be expelled from your school by your Principal at any age if you seriously misbehave.

If you are over 17 years of age you can be expelled from your school by your Principal if you are not committed to your studies and your behaviour at school badly affects other people.

What process does the school have to follow when expelling me?

Unless there has been an extremely serious incident, before you can be expelled from your school  the Principal must:

  • Interview you. At this interview the Principal must tell you exactly why you may be expelled and you must be given the chance to give your side of the story. You must be allowed to have someone with you at the interview; and
  • Send a letter to you and your parents advising that you may be expelled and giving the reasons why;
  • Put you on long suspension while the decision is being made about expelling you; and
  • Obtain a report about you from the School Counselor which must be taken into consideration in deciding whether to expel you; and
  • Give your parents a copy of all the information the Principal is looking at in making the decision whether or not to expel you; and
  • Allow you and your parents 7 school days to reply to this information; and
  • Talk to you and your parents about what expulsion will mean for you; and
  • Tell you and your parents how to appeal against a decision to expel you.

If the Principal expels you, the Principal must:

  • Write to you and your parents advising that you have been expelled from your school and that you have the right to appeal this decision.
  • The Principal must organise another learning program or school for you within 10 school days of you being expelled

If your behaviour has been so extreme, you may be banned from going to any other public school in New South Wales.

Expulsion if you are over 17 years of age and not working properly.

If you’re over 17 years and you’re consistently not working properly at school, you can be expelled after you have had 1 written warning.  The school must also tell your parents in writing that you may be expelled, give you and your parents 7 days to respond, take into account anything you or your parents say in response and discuss your rights to appeal the decision.   

If you are in this situation, please contact us here and we can give you some advice about what to do next.

Can you go back to the same school after being expelled?

You can only go back to the same school if the Executive Director gives his approval.

If your behaviour has been extremely bad the Principal can recommend that you are not to be re-admitted to any government school.

What if you disagree with expulsion?

You have a right to appeal against the decision to expel you from school if you think that the decision was unfair or the school didn’t follow the correct procedures.  It’s very important that you make an appeal as soon as possible after you find out that you have been expelled.

The way you appeal is to send a form and letter to the Director of Public Schools New South Wales.  You can find the form here (in appendix four).

It’s important in your appeal to explain what in particular you think is unfair, or which rules the school didn’t follow in deciding to expel you.

If your appeal is not successful, you can appeal to the Executive Director of Public Schools New South Wales. 

Once you send your appeal, you will have to wait up to 20 school days for the Department to decide whether to expel you.

If you need help appealing, you can contact the Local Department of Education Office.  You can find the contact details of your local office by typing in your school name at this website: http://www.dec.nsw.gov.au/our-services/services-locator or by asking your principal for the details.  

What if you think you have been discriminated against?

Click here for more information about discrimination at school.

What will expulsion mean for my future?

  • Your suspension will be recorded in your school’s register. However, information about your suspension or expulsion is not public information as your personal information is protected by privacy legislation.
  • You may be expelled from your school and in serious cases of bad behaviour the Minister may refuse your admission to any government school.
  • If you want to enrol in TAFE, you must let them know if you were suspended or expelled for violent behaviour. They will then decide if you are a current risk to the safety of any person within TAFE NSW.

You have a right to be heard

Remember, throughout the suspension or expulsion process, you have the right to be heard. This means you have:

  • The right to know why you are being punished
  • The right to know the way the decision will be made
  • The right to know the problems and any other information which will be used to decide the decision
  • The right to respond to any allegations against you.

For more information and help

If you have been suspended or expelled from school, you should get advice about your rights as soon as possible. You need to act quickly to ensure that you minimise as much as possible any disruption or break in your education.

Please contact us here as soon as you find out so that we can advise you of what to do next.

You can also read the New South Wales government’s short brochure on suspensions and expulsions here and their full policy here: https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_serv/discipline/stu_discip_gov/suspol_07.pdf

Finally, if you are finding that being out of school is very difficult and stressful and you are feeling a bit down you can call Kids Helpline or check them out here:  http://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/.  The Helpline is free and you don’t have to tell them who you are.   You can also call them for free on 1800 55 1800.

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