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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 Queensland. 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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Exclusion (also known as expulsion)

Exclusion is when you are asked to leave school for a long time, which can be up to a year, or even permanently in very very serious cases. A school should only consider excluding you if suspension is inadequate to deal with your behaviour.  

What can you be excluded for?

  • You do not obey your teachers on a continuous and persistent basis;
  • You misbehave;
  • Your behaviour is bad for the good order and running of the school;
  • Your attendance at school poses an unacceptable risk to the safety or wellbeing of other students of the school;
  • You have been found guilty of a crime. If the school wants to expel you because of you have been found guilty of a crime, please contact us here as soon as possible because this situation is quite complicated.  
  • Indicating through your behaviour that you refusing to participate in learning at your school (this ground only applies if you are over 16 or have finished year 10)

The Principal may exclude you for behaviour even if that behaviour does not happen on school premises or during school hours.

What process does the school have to follow?

  • The school has to give you a notice saying that they plan on excluding you from the school
  • The school can suspend you until they decide whether or not to exclude you (this can be up to 20 days).
  • Give you and your parents an opportunity to consider the evidence and reasons why the school thinks you should be excluded.

What if you want to appeal the exclusion?

You can appeal the decision to exclude you.  If you want to appeal, you should do this as soon as possible after you are told about your expulsion. You have to do this no later than 30 days after you are given the notice saying that the school wants to exclude you. You should send a written letter to the Director-General.  You can find their details on the notice that your principal gave you when you were suspended.   In the letter to the Director-General, you can explain why you think the decision was unfair and the facts you are relying on to prove your argument.

For an example letter you can use, see page 2 of this document: http://education.qld.gov.au/behaviour/docs/submission-guide-disciplinary-absences.pdf

The Director-General will consider your application within 40 days and let you, your parents and the principal what the outcome is. They also need to give a written notice of what their decision is.   If you still don’t agree with the Director-General’s decision, there are other options, including appealing to the Appeal to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.   Generally you need to make an application within 28 days of being notified of the decision. If you want more information about this option, please contact us here.

Can I go back to the same school after being excluded?

This all depends on the circumstances, including what you were excluded for and whether or not you have worked on improving your behaviour.

Can I go to another school if I am expelled?

This depends on how bad your behaviour is. In very very serious cases, the Director General can stop you going to any public school in Queensland.  If this happens, the Education Department has to take steps to make sure you can continue your learning.

What if you think you have been discriminated against?

Click here for more information about discrimination at school.

What will an exclusion mean for your future?

Your suspension or exclusion will be recorded. However, information about your suspension or expulsion is not public information. You and your parents will have access to your records.

When applying for a job, your report card will not show whether you have been suspended or excluded but it will show how many days you didn’t go to school (including absences because of suspensions or exclusions).

For more information

If you have been suspended or expelled from school you should get independent 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.

People you can talk to:

  1. You can get help here;
  2. Talk to a Lawyer in person at:
Youth Advocacy Centre in Wilson:
Ph: (07) 3356 1002
Email: [email protected]
Logan Youth Legal Service in Logan
Phone: (07) 3826 1500

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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