School operations



In some instances it may be appropriate to expel a student who compromises the health, safety and wellbeing of the school community, in order to protect the learning environment for all students and to continue with effective teaching. This may be a difficult decision for a principal to balance the needs of all students in the school community. Principals are encouraged to engage closely with the Regional Engagement Coordinator and the local Area team to ensure the best outcome is reached.

When making a decision, the principal must properly, fairly and without bias consider all relevant matters, including the impact of the behaviour of the student on other affected parties.

The principal must determine whether the expulsion is appropriate in light of:

  • the behaviour for which the student is being expelled
  • the educational needs of the student
  • any disability of the student
  • the age of the student
  • the magnitude and impact of the student’s actions
  • the residential and social circumstances of the student

The principal must also ensure that all information or documentation provided by the student or their parent or carer has been taken into account when making the decision. The Regional Engagement Coordinator can provide advice to principals on documenting their expulsion decision. The regional approved support person (RASP) can support the principal to consider the best options for the student and the school.

While the principal is making a decision, the school should continue to provide the student with work. If a student is suspended for longer than five days, the allocated teacher should provide support during this time.

Timelines for decision

Following the conclusion of the behaviour support and intervention meeting, the principal must notify the student and their parent/carer of the decision to expel or not expel within the following timelines:

  • where the student is 9 years or more, within 2 business days
  • where the student is aged 8 or less, within 10 business days, and only once the Department Secretary’s approval is obtained

Students aged 8 or less
The Secretary of the Department must approve a principal’s decision to expel a student aged eight years or less. This is because the Department recognises the critical importance of supporting very young students to remain engaged in education.

For a student aged eight years or less, the principal should contact the Regional Engagement Coordinator and work with them to prepare a brief to the Secretary outlining the principal’s recommendation and seeking their approval.

The principal will be informed of the Secretary’s decision within 10 business days to enable them to notify the student and their parent/carer within the required time period. Until the Secretary makes their decision, the principal may not proceed with their expulsion decision.

Deciding not to expel

If the principal decides not to expel the student, the student should be supported to continue at the school. The principal should convene a Student Support Group in collaboration with the student and their parent/carer. The focus of this group is to put in place additional, or review existing, interventions and supports to engage the student positively at school.

Referrals to school based, local Area, allied health and community supports should be made as appropriate. Other reasonable adjustments to the student’s program should also be considered.

Building a working relationship with the student and parent or carer should be a priority. Depending on the circumstances that led to the Behaviour Support and Intervention Meeting, the principal should consider seeking support from conflict resolution services to address any unresolved issues and to restore relationships and a positive learning environment.

Deciding to expel

To maintain procedural fairness and transparency, principals must complete and retain thorough and detailed documentation of their expulsion decision. This is also important as an expulsion decision can be appealed by the student or their parent/carer on the basis that the process was not followed.

Principals must provide the student and their parent/carer with a copy of the Notice of Expulsion and Expulsion Appeal Form (login required). The Notice of Expulsion must state:

  • the ground/s for the expulsion
  • the reason/s for the expulsion
  • the date of the commencement of the expulsion
  • that the student has a right to appeal the expulsion decision

The principal must also prepare a written Expulsion Report which contains:

  • a short statement of the history of the student's time at the school
  • the grounds for the expulsion
  • the reasons for expulsion
  • any considerations in support of the expulsion including a comprehensive range of strategies which might have been employed to date
  • any considerations of the impact of behaviour of the student on other affected parties;
  • any representations made by the student or their Relevant Person
  • a summary of the options considered at the Behaviour Support and Intervention Meeting and why expulsion was considered necessary
  • details of the arrangements that have been made for the continuing education, training and/or employment of the student
  • recommendations on whether any further action either at the school, local, regional or system level is required, including strategies at the school level to prevent the repeat of similar circumstances

The Expulsion Report and a copy of the Notice of Expulsion must be provided to the Regional Director, within 1 business day of the expulsion taking effect.

The principal should retain a copy of the Expulsion Report, Notice of Expulsion and all relevant communication. The expulsion must also be recorded in CASES21.

Chapter in the Expulsion Guidelines and Procedures for Victorian Government Schools outlining the required considerations and process for making a decision about expulsion

Reviewed 12 October 2020

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