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The rules on suspensions and expulsions are different depending on whether you go to a public government school or a private school. This page only applies if you go to a public school in the Northern Territory. If you attend a private, independent or Catholic school please contact us here with your question.  

Every Australian child has a right to education. This means your school cannot suspend or expel you without very good reasons and a clear process.  It also means your school must act fairly if they are planning on suspending or expelling you from school. If you think you are being unfairly punished, you can appeal the decision.

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What is expulsion?

Expulsion is when you are asked to leave school permanently.

What can you be expelled for?

Your Principal can recommend to the Head of Schools in Northern Territory that you be expelled if:

  • You are involved in a single event that is very serious ; or
  • You repeatedly behave in unacceptable ways that and continue to do so, even though your school has tried different ways to change your behaviour.

What process does the school need to follow if they want to expel me?

Before you are expelled, your Principal must first suspend you for a maximum period of 1 month. This is so that the Principal has time to decide whether to recommend to the CEO that you should be expelled, and the CEO has time to make a decision.

At the time you are suspended the Principal must tell you that he/she is thinking about recommending to the CEO that you should be expelled. The Principal must also tell your parents.

Before making the decision your Principal must talk to the Director School Performance (DSP) about whether you should be expelled  and must write to you:

  • Confirming that the Principal is thinking of  recommending your expulsion; and
  • Giving you the reasons why; and
  • Providing copies of the documents that are being looked at; and
  • Inviting you to a meeting  within 3 days of the written notice to talk about your possible expulsion and allow you to give your side of the story; and
  • Inviting you to put your side of the story in writing to the Principal within 3 days.

After hearing your side of the story your Principal must decide within 2 days whether to recommend that you be expelled. Your Principal must then let you know the decision in writing straight away.

If the Principal decides to recommend that you be expelled, in this letter the Principal must also let you know the reasons why. You must also be advised that you will be given a copy of the Principal’s recommendation and that you will be able to give your side of the story to the CEO before the CEO makes a decision.

The recommendation from the Principal to the CEO must include:

  • A copy of the Notice of Suspension; and
  • The reasons for  recommending expulsion; and
  • Any documents the Principal looked at when deciding whether to make the  recommendation to expel you; and
  • Whether you have a medical or other important condition that means you have special needs; and
  • Details of the event and copies of all communication between you and the school;  and
  • Any evidence or documents that you gave to the school.

The recommendation must not include any information that the Principal has not already told or written to you or your parents.

The recommendation will be reviewed by departmental officers before it is given to the CEO, and before it is given to the CEO the Executive Director must:

  • Write to you to let you know the recommendation  will be sent to the CEO; and
  • Give you a copy of the recommendation and supporting documents; and
  • Let you know that you can write to the CEO and  give the CEO any information that would help the CEO make a  decision; and
  • Let you know that you can meet with the CEO before a decision is made (providing that the CEO is able to).

You must be allowed at least 7 days to put your case to the CEO before a decision is made.

After looking at all the evidence the CEO will then decide whether you should be expelled. The CEO will let you know of the decision in writing, including the reasons for the decision.

The CEO must reach a decision and advise you of that decision before the end of your suspension period.

If I am expelled, can I got to another school?

If you have been expelled, you cannot join another government school unless:

  • You have permission from the Minister; or
  • The school is a distance education centre.

What if you think you have been discriminated against?

Click here for more information about discrimination at school.

What will an expulsion mean for your future?

Information held by the Education Department about your suspension or expulsion is not public information. It can only be shown to others if you give permission.

For more information

If you have more questions about suspensions of expulsions, you can get help here.
You can also read the Department of Education’s policies on suspension and expulsion here (Northern Territory Northern Territory Government. Department of Education and Children’s Services Expulsion Guidelines February 2012 DET File: 2011/1553:5.5.

Finally, if you are finding that being out of school is very difficult and stressful and you are feeling a bit down you can call Kids Helpline or check them out here:  http://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/

The Helpline is free and you don’t have to tell them who you are. You can also call them for free on 1800 55 1800.

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