Stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions guidelines - part 1

About the guidelines

These guidelines:

  • are designed to assist boards of trustees, principals, and teachers with their legal options and duties and meet their obligations under relevant statutory requirements, and
  • are for use in all state and state-integrated schools.

Independent schools may also wish to adopt this guide.

The Guidelines comprise:

Part 1 — Legal options and duties [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Part 2 — Good practice [PDF, 2.4 MB]

These guidelines replace those published by the Ministry of Education in June 2004 and the 2007 Supplement. The paragraphs have been numbered for ease of use and reference. Cross references to Part 2 — Good practice are given where relevant.

Licensing Criteria Cover

During a stand-down

This page outlines a principal's obligations during a stand-down.

  • Consider sending the student home
    • Do this immediately

      1. A stand-down starts on the day after the decision is made. You may decide to send the student home on the day the decision is made if it is reasonable to do so. If it is not advisable or possible to send the student home, they should be supervised at school until the end of the school day. Consider the age of the student and the circumstances of the parent/s when making this decision.
      2. From the next school day, the student may only attend if you agree.

      [Refer Consider attendance during stand-down, paras 49–50]

  • Calculate the length of the stand-down
    • Do this immediately

      1. A stand-down may be for one or more specific periods. You must decide how long that will be. However, a stand-down may not exceed five school days per term. A student may only be stood-down for a total of ten school days in a year. Do not count the day you stood the student down or any day the school is closed in the stand-down.
      2. To help you do this, ENROL records the number of days a student has been stooddown per term and per year (including previous schools in the current year).

      [Refer Part II, Section 3: 11 Documenting processes]

  • Keep student on the roll
      1. The student must remain on your roll. They may only be removed if they:
        1. enrol at another school; or
        2. are granted an exemption from enrolment; or
        3. leave the school system altogether (if over 16).
  • Guidance and counselling
    • Do this as soon as practicable

      1. You must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the student gets guidance and counselling that is:
        1. reasonable; and
        2. practicable in all the circumstances of the stand-down.
      2. To help you do this, consider:
        1. one of your aims must be to minimise the disruption to a student’s attendance at school and facilitate the return of the student to school; and
        2. what will help reduce the chance of re-offending.
  • Consider attendance during stand-down
      1. The student may attend school if the student or a parent asks you to allow that for whatever reason; and you consider that the request is reasonable.
      2. The student must attend school if you reasonably consider that it is appropriate because:
        1. of the student’s educational programme (the student might need to fulfil course requirements for a qualification or sit an examination); or
        2. the student needs to receive guidance and counselling.
      3. Otherwise, the student must not attend.
  • Stand-down meeting
    • If a student or a parent asks you for a stand-down meeting, you must hold one as soon as is practicable for the student, a parent and you. You must make yourself available.

      1. The purpose of a stand-down meeting is to discuss the stand-down and share information about what led to it and how to resolve the situation. It may also be useful to discuss expectations on the student returning to school. You may call a stand-down meeting, or the student or a parent may request one.
  • Lifting a stand-down
      1. You may lift a stand-down at any time before it expires for any reason. This might be as a result of a stand-down meeting. You must lift the stand-down if you discover that reasonable grounds for the stand-down did not actually exist. To lift a stand-down, you must:
        1. let the student return to school and attend full-time
        2. withdraw the stand-down in ENROL; and
        3. tell the student and a parent that standdown has been withdrawn.

      To help you communicate your decision to parents you may wish to use a model letter template. [Refer Part II, Appendix, Model letters: Letter 6 – Notifying parent/guardian of lifting of a stand-down] You should also consider telephoning a parent.

  • Shortening a stand-down
      1. You may shorten a stand-down at any time before it expires for any reason. This is at the principal’s discretion and depends on individual circumstances. This might be as a result of a stand-down meeting. You may shorten the stand-down if you discover that there are reasonable grounds to do so. To shorten a stand-down, you must:
        1. shorten the stand-down through the ENROL process; and
        2. tell the student and a parent that standdown has been shortened.

      To help you communicate your decision to parents you may wish to use a model letter template. [Refer Part II, Appendix, Model letters: Letter 7 – Notifying parent/guardian of shortening of standdown] You should also consider telephoning a parent.