Q: Can I make an arrangement with a willing parent to keep their son/daughter at home for a few days to cool down?

A: This arrangement mirrors a suspension which may be defined as a temporary exclusion from school, which may only be enforced by the principal. Schools cannot avoid their obligations under the Schools (Suspension and Expulsion of Pupils) Regulations (NI) 1995 and Schools (Suspension and Expulsion of Pupils) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 1998 by calling a suspension something else such as “sending the child home”. Any period during which the school refuses to provide a registered pupil with an education in its premises is arguably a suspension.

Where a pupil is suspended the principal must immediately give written notice of the reasons for the suspension and the period of suspension to the parent of the pupil, the Education and Library Board, the chairman of the board of governors and in the case of Catholic maintained schools the local diocesan of the office of the CCMS. The principal must also invite the parents (or pupil if aged 18) to visit the school and discuss the matter.