How To Deal With An Internal Exclusion At School

Written by Dan

Last updated

As a school leader, managing a student’s internal exclusion can be stressful and overwhelming.

You must be aware of the procedures and protocols for this process to ensure that students are still receiving an appropriate education when they have been removed from their usual classroom activities.

In addition, it is also crucial to ensure that their rights as learners remain respected while they are under internal exclusion.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss strategies and steps teachers can take to successfully manage students who have been issued with an internal exclusion.

When a student is removed from the premises due to behaviour, it’s seen as an official exclusion and must be documented.

While there are no set methods of internal expulsion, this advice was created to encourage schools to consider their setting and individual circumstances when determining best practices.

Internal exclusion can be a practical part of a school-wide initiative to promote positive behaviour.

Related: For more, check out our article on The Perfect Behaviour Management Policy  here.

Many educational institutions use various internal exclusion systems as disciplinary action for poor classroom conduct while serving multiple other purposes.

When pupils are taken out of class suddenly due to their disruptive actions, internal exclusion may act as a suitable countermeasure that is both quick and efficient.

Remove rooms, which are found mainly in secondary schools and may be overseen by senior staff, provide an additional resource for those who need help improving their behaviour or attitude toward learning.

This differs from a Learning Support Unit as the remove room serves more immediate needs rather than providing long-term teaching and support programmes tailored to individuals.

The facility can also take many forms, such as the head teacher’s office or other teaching areas within primary school settings.

Looking for guidance on establishing and managing a Learning Support Unit? Visit Teach Net .

It is critical to note that the term’ internal seclusion’ should not be used as “seclusion” legally implies isolating a child against their will, which goes against the objective of internal exclusion – providing supervised education emphasising improving student behaviour rather than punishment alone.

Additionally, it is essential to refrain from utilising the ‘inclusion room’.

This guidance will refer to an internal exclusion room as a ‘remove room’. To develop successful behaviour and attendance in schools, internal exclusion can be used as an immediate but temporary provision allowing most pupils to keep learning without disruption.

The period spent in the remove room should be kept at a minimum; ideally, everyone understands their role within the policy and practice involved with internal exclusion -including staff members, children/young people, and parents/carers.

Including internal exclusion in the school behaviour policy is essential if it is an appropriate disciplinary action.

For advice on formulating a successful and legally sound school behaviour policy – including best practices and legal requirements – visit Teacher Policies.

This guidance will help ensure that your students adhere to regulations while providing them with reliable support mechanisms for positive development.

The remove room should be used if the following criteria are met:

• A pupil has been internally excluded and referred via appropriate pathways

• When a situation that could lead to conflict can be solved by placing pupils in the isolated space

• As per the school’s behaviour policy guidelines.

Remove rooms should be avoided for the following purposes:

• Providing statutory education to excluded pupils

• Allowing students to make up exams and tests missed previously

• Subjecting students to punishment without using the school’s referral system

Internal exclusion should not be used to provide long-term respite care for students who need exceptional support or seen as a badge of prestige among peers.

Instead, it must never become a fast track to permanent removal from school.


A transparent referral process should be set in place for students who are facing internal exclusion.

For example, suppose the Head of the Year or a senior staff member finds it necessary to exclude a student from class on their teacher’s recommendation.

This decision must be communicated clearly and effectively to the student and their parents/carers (if applicable).

Additionally, explaining the motives behind any internal exclusion recommendation is essential.

Furthermore, details on lessons that will be missed and suggested work for the remove room should be included in the referral.

All referrals must also be reported to the head teacher for follow-up purposes.

As an added measure of importance regarding sanctions, schools may also inform parents when a student has been referred to the removal room.

As part of their behaviour policy, parents and guardians must be familiar with the school’s policies on internal exclusion. To gain more insight into communicating this policy to parents, check out Teachers net.

By understanding these rules and regulations, we can collaborate in building a safe environment for our children that promotes learning and growth!

Education in the remove room

Students must be aware that they must finish assigned tasks while excluded from the classroom, and teachers should provide this.

They should also consider why they are being internally excluded, as special consideration needs to be taken if exclusion lasts over half a day regarding what activities occur.

These activities might include:

When students behave in a way that goes against the expected behaviour, they can take steps towards rectifying their mistakes.

This may include fulfilling tasks set out by their teacher or supervisor, discussing what occurred with an adult present, and devising a self-review to assess how the situation could be prevented from happening again.

Additionally, creating a written apology and analysing the pupil’s behaviour will aid in finding solutions going forward.


It’s essential to plan and structure the activities for a remove room meticulously.

Since internal exclusion is the consequence of bad behaviour, students’ time in this environment should be used productively to address issues or finish their project work.

They must understand precisely what they are supposed to do and why it matters. Unless otherwise specified, the remove room may operate hours that differ from those of the rest of the school.

For this reason, it is important to coordinate these times with existing transport arrangements and any out-of-school commitments a student may have, such as accompanying a younger sibling home or being responsible for caring for family members.


The remove room should be positioned in a tranquil part of the school, either within a single classroom or as its building with an entrance.

A cap must be set to ensure that overcrowding does not lessen the beneficial impact this punishment can have on pupils.

Accessibility to an internal telephone or cell phone is necessary for staff members. Moreover, the remove room must remain wholly distinct from both Learning Support Unit and any special education needs facilities.

All staff members should be equipped with the necessary resources—from pens and pencils to calculators and PCs—to assist pupils in the room.

Furthermore, it is beneficial to have a variety of literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving exercises prepared for students who may have finished their work or are waiting on new tasks; this ensures that all time spent in the room is productive.

Finally, sufficient access must be provided for pupils regarding restrooms and drinking water sources so that their health can remain a priority.

In most cases, lunch can be provided within the room. However, if this does not comply with health or safety regulations, it’s best to provide lunch at a different time than the rest of the school.

To ensure that pupils are aware of expected behaviour during their internal exclusion (as outlined in the school policy), have examples on display as a friendly reminder throughout reflection and discussion.

To encourage students to think deeply about the effects of their decisions and how they can make amends, giving them a set of thought-provoking questions may be helpful.

When budgeting for internal exclusion, schools must consider the costs associated with staffing. Some investments may be required upfront, but they will mainly cover personnel expenditures.

A rotation of workers, a permanent staff member, and senior management support can monitor the remove room.

Moreover, it’s essential that whoever supervises this space is equipped with the necessary techniques to handle difficult circumstances where students might become agitated, distressed or unhappy.

This could be an excellent chance for staff to expand their knowledge. A few team members may require further instruction to grasp the objectives behind internal exclusion and feel comfortable adhering to established policy.


It is essential to keep track of all pupils referred to the remove room, including factors like gender, ethnicity, SEN status and age.

When analysed correctly, this data can allow for early intervention projects and school self-evaluation.

Schools should take advantage of this helpful dataset by exploring any potential trends in referrals to the internal exclusion that could be found within it.

Doing so can help them better understand their processes and work towards improvement.

Other Resources

  1. Edutopia – “Creating an Inclusive School Environment” This article guides creating an inclusive school environment that supports students with diverse learning needs. It covers topics such as building a culture of acceptance, providing accommodations and modifications, and working collaboratively with families. URL:
  2. National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) – “Leading Inclusion: How to Create Successful Inclusive Classrooms” This resource from the NAESP provides strategies for creating successful inclusive classrooms, including developing a shared vision for inclusion, building partnerships with families, and providing professional development for staff members. URL:
  3. The Inclusion Lab – “Internal Inclusion in Schools: What Does it Mean?” This article defines internal inclusion in schools and offers tips for promoting inclusivity within the classroom and school community. It includes information on adapting instruction to meet diverse learning needs, fostering positive student relationships, and celebrating diversity. URL:
  4. TeachThought – “Creating An Inclusive Classroom Culture: Why It Matters And How To Do It” This article explores the importance of creating an inclusive classroom culture and offers practical strategies for doing so, including using universal design for learning principles, incorporating student voice into decision-making processes, and promoting empathy among students. URL:
  5. ASCD – “Inclusive Schools Benefit All Students” This article discusses the benefits of inclusive schools for all students and offers suggestions for promoting inclusivity within the school environment. It includes information on differentiated instruction, involving families in decision-making processes, and supporting social-emotional learning for all students. URL:


Q: Why are internal exclusions used?

A: Internal exclusions are used as a disciplinary measure when students engage in behaviour that disrupts the learning environment for themselves or others. They allow schools to maintain order and safety while allowing students to reflect on their behaviour and learn from their mistakes.

Q: How long do internal exclusions typically last?

A: The length of an internal exclusion can vary depending on the nature of the behaviour that led to the exclusion and the school district’s policies. Some schools may use short-term exclusions lasting only a few hours, while others may use longer-term exclusions lasting several days or more.

Q: Are there any concerns about using internal exclusions as a disciplinary measure?

A: There are concerns about using internal exclusions as a disciplinary measure. Critics argue they can stigmatise and adversely affect student well-being, mainly if used excessively or without appropriate support services. There are also concerns that this practice may disproportionately impact some groups of students (such as those with disabilities).

Q: What alternatives exist to using internal exclusions as a disciplinary measure?

A: There are many alternatives to using internal exclusions as a disciplinary measure, including restorative justice practices, positive behaviour interventions and supports (PBIS), counselling services, and peer mediation programs. These approaches focus on building positive relationships between students and staff members, promoting social-emotional learning, and addressing underlying issues contributing to disruptive behaviour.

Q: How can schools ensure that internal exclusions are fair and equitable?

A: Schools can ensure that their use of internal exclusions is fair and equitable by establishing clear guidelines for their use; providing training for staff members on how to implement them effectively; monitoring data related to their benefit to identify potential disparities; involving families and community members in decision-making processes; and seeking input from students about how these measures impact their learning experience.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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