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Suspension, Exclusion and Expulsion

Students can be suspended, excluded or expelled if they threaten or are violent at school or represent a threat to the safety of students or staff. This includes:

  • bullying and racially vilification
  • doing something illegal
  • causing serious trouble in class that affects other students
  • not performing school work and not participating in class
  • repeated breaches of school rules

The decision to suspend, exclude or expel will depend on the severity and frequency of the misbehaviour, past behaviour and a student’s response to previous requests [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 48].


Suspension requires a student to be absent from normal classes and activities for a specific period of time. Suspension means that the student is not permitted to be on school grounds for a particular period of time (up to five consecutive school days) [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 44].


The head teacher of a school can exclude a student from attendance at the school (up to 20 weeks in a calender year). Before excluding the student, the student must first have been suspended. A student must obey reasonable written directions in relation to undertaking education, work or other relevant activity during the period of an exclusion, and it is an offence to fail to follow these directions, maximum penalty $200 [see generally Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 45].


A student can be expelled for behaviour for which they have previously been suspended. Their parents must be informed about such a step [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 46].

There are two types of expulsion:

1. From a particular school by the head teacher [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 46].

2. From all schools and other educational facilities by the Director General of the Education Department, on the recommendation of the head teacher [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 47].

During the period of expulsion, suspension or exclusion the student must not enter the school grounds except with the written approval or at the written request of the head teacher of the school, maximum penalty, $200. [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 49].

An expulsion can be appealed by the student, the student’s parents, or another adult acting on behalf of the parent or student. The rules about when and how an application for an appeal should be made are found in the Education Regulations [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 50]. Note that there are very short time frames in which an appeal must be made.

The Department for Education has an information pamphlet explaining procedures for suspension and exclusion for state schools. For independent schools (i.e. non-government schools), information on policies for suspension, exclusion and expulsion can be obtained directly from the individual school.

Suspension, Exclusion and Expulsion  :  Last Revised: Fri Jan 13th 2017
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.